Where Beauty & Nature intersect

February 2015 – Heartwarming days ahead

With Valentine’s Day and a three-day weekend on February’s calendar, a winter getaway to our beautiful north woods may be the way to win your Valentine’s heart for the first time or all over again.

The Polar Vortex is last year’s news. The days grow longer and the quiet, frozen lakes invite wildlife viewing. Eagles and trumpeter swans, wild turkeys and white-tailed deer are the easiest to find on a short drive, but other species from muskrats to pileated woodpeckers can be seen.

Consider cozying up in a fish house. The ice is thick on local lakes but to be on the safe side you can ask a local bait dealer for a recommendation on where the fish are biting and how to find them. Then warm up by a fireplace or poolside.

If you time your stay, you can sample one of the following fun winter events:

It’s not too late to head north for the 17th Annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest on Fish Hook Lake from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, February 7. The contest offers more than $110,000 in prizes and an afternoon of family fun on the ice. Other weekend activities include a welcome dance Friday night, breakfast and lunch Saturday, awards presentation, Fisherman’s Ball Saturday night and Sunday morning breakfast, all at the American Legion. Tickets for the fishing contest at $40 each are available at the American Legion or call toll free (800) 247-0054. For more information, go to http://www.parkrapidsamericanlegion.com/fishingderby.html.

If it snows this month, you can enjoy Itascatur’s beautiful Soaring Eagle ski trails at Sunday open houses and have a cup of hot chocolate in the warming house. Check for conditions and events at http://itascatur.org/soaring_eagle_open_house.shtml.

Learn more about the history of early horse logging, an industry common to this area in the late 1800s, at an old-time logging demonstration Saturday, February 14 at Itasca State Park. Watch lumberjacks fell trees with a 2-man cross-cut saw, buck the log into sections, skid the logs with the teamster’s trained horses, and cross-haul logs onto a horse drawn sled. Members of the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers will be on hand to demonstrate these early logging methods from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center. Dress according to the weather. Program is held outside in the woods. Please be prepared with warm hats, gloves, snow pants and snow boots. Be prepared to walk/stand in deep snow. In case of poor weather, the event will be cancelled.

Or enjoy a winter evening on snowshoes as the light of lanterns guides your way along the Schoolcraft Trail in Itasca State Park between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, February 21. Meet at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center and snowshoe at your own pace during this drop-in program. For added fun, bring along your s’mores fixings or hot dogs for cooking at the campfire. Limited snowshoes are available on a first come-first served basis. Dress according to the weather.

If you need help planning a memorable and affordable visit, need more information about these and other winter activities or if you have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more. And be sure to check out the 2015 Chamber Guide to find out how to catch a memory all year long.

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