The new year begins with a thick blanket of snow. It’s beautiful, layered on the branches of pines and covering the landscape as far as the eye can see.
Snowmobilers have already hit the hundreds of miles of groomed trails through scenic forests and networked between destinations where there are places to pause for a meal and warm up. Cross-country skiers have enjoyed time at Soaring Eagle north of Park Rapids, in Itasca State Park and through the Shingobee Recreation Area between Akeley and Walker.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updates snow and trail conditions in weekly reports posted after 2 p.m. every Thursday at www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html.
The ice on area lakes is thickening with a string of overnight temperatures well below zero. Ice houses already dot area lakes like spots on dominoes. Bait shop owners can tell you where the best spots are to snag a fresh catch.
Our winter lodging facilities are open no matter what Mother Nature brings. Warm up by the fire or in the pool, hot tub or sauna and enjoy the area’s fine dining, fun shops and more to do.
If you time your stay, you can sample one of the following fun winter activities:
Lantern lit skiing/snowshoeing events and naturalist programs are on the winter calendar at Itasca State Park. For details about winter activities in the park, call 218-699-7251 or go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/itasca/index.html.
Menahga’s Family Fishing Day on Spirit Lake offers prizes, including $500 cash for the third largest fish caught in two categories (northern/walleye/bass and pan fish), and a day of fishing fun from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. A $5 entry fee is also a raffle ticket. Portable shelters are allowed to be pulled in by hand. Boy Scouts will be serving food on site and Saturday evening the Menahga VFW will hold a fish fry.
And remember to buy tickets for the 16th Annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest on Fish Hook Lake Saturday, Feb. 1. The contest offers more than $110,000 in prizes. Grand prizes in this year’s raffle are a 2014 F-150 Ford truck and an Ice Castle fish house. Other raffle prizes, including cash prizes, will be awarded. Polaris ATVs top the list of prizes in five divisions: bluegill & crappie; northern, walleye & largemouth bass; perch; rock bass and white fish. Tickets for the fishing contest at $40 each are available at the American Legion or call 218-732-3360. For more information, go to www.parkrapidsamericanlegion.com.
The Chamber Website provides information about trail riding and cross-country skiing possibilities as well as available lodging, dining and other things to see and do while you’re here. If you’ve resolved to celebrate winter and need help planning a memorable and affordable visit or if you have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more.