State Parks Offer Snow-Related Sports through Spring
Minnesota state parks are offering unseasonable activities to keep visitors and revenue coming.
According to Dave Felleson of Fort Snelling State Park, his team would typically be leveling and grading trails for hikers and bikers by this time of year. But with snow still on the ground, Felleson says they're catering to winter sports enthusiasts. Their recent work has been on maintaining trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
"Right now we're still concentrating very heavily on grooming. We probably groom one or two times a week and heavily used parts we groom three to five times a week to make sure the trails are in good shape for the users," says Felleson.
According to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), visitors to Minnesota State Parks contribute $280 million in total spending to local economies. It's why park visits are precious.
DNR officials say that last year, Fort Snelling State Park received more than 978,000 visitors. They are happy to report that despite the weather, visitation is on track to match or even exceed last year's turnout.
Many credit the adaptive approach of park officials. Felleson adds, "You've got to be very flexible. You have to be able on very short notice to change your ideas or change your plans. If it snows, instead of going out to grade or do work on the trails, you're going out to groom the trails."