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DNR NEWS -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          Dec. 31, 2013

Cold weather won't stop tonight's candlelight walk at Fort Snelling State Park

First Day Hikes at Minnesota state parks and trails tomorrow still on

The New Year's Eve candlelight walk at Fort Snelling State Park, a tradition marking its 10th anniversary tonight, will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. as scheduled, despite the chilly forecast, the Department of Natural Resources confirmed.

"There's no such thing as bad weather, as long as you dress appropriately," said Fort Snelling State Park Manager Larry Peterson, who predicts the crowd tonight will top 1,000, as it usually does. "Minnesotans know how to bundle up for winter. You just dress in layers, cover your skin and maybe stick some hand and foot warmers in your mittens and boots."

Candlelight walk participants can hike one to three miles around Pike Island on trails lit with candle luminaries, warm up at roaring bonfires and toast marshmallows. The Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center will also be open throughout the evening.

The event at Fort Snelling State Park is one of 30 candlelight events taking place this winter at Minnesota state parks and trails.

"Our candlelight events are a great way to get out and make some memories with friends and family," said Courtland Nelson, director of the Parks and Trails Division. "The candles and luminaries add a touch of magic to the great outdoors."

For directions to Fort Snelling State Park and other information, go to www.mndnr.gov/fortsnelling or call the park at 612-725-2724.

Five naturalist-led "First Day Hikes" also will take place at Minnesota state parks and trails on New Year's Day, no matter what the thermometer says, as part of a national effort to start the new year in a healthy and memorable way. First Day Hikes are scheduled at:

  • Afton State Park (Hastings), 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Gateway State Trail (St. Paul), 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Jay Cooke State Park (Carlton), 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Lake Carlos State Park (Alexandria), 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Minneopa State Park (Mankato), 10-11:30 a.m.


Additional information about the First Day Hikes can be found in the online calendar at www.mndnr.gov/ptcalendar or by calling the parks. For information about the hike on the Gateway State Trail, call 651-231-6968.

A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don't already have a Minnesota state parks vehicle permit (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/permit.html) can purchase one at the park office.

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