Winter Activities in Our National Parks!

February 12, 2016Farah AnwarNPF Blog

Imagine your local park blanketed in snow; its serene lakes frozen over. Did you know that some of your favorite winter activities including skiing, snowshoeing, and even hiking can be enjoyed in our national parks? Winter is a great time to get outdoors and see what special and unique activities happen in parks during this season.

As part of our Open Outdoors for Kids initiative, the cold weather isn’t stopping our programs either. Check out some of the exciting programs getting kids outdoors in winter.

Mt. Rainier

Did you know that Crater Lake National Park gets an average of 524 inches of snow annually? Sometimes the park can be covered with snow into June or even July! The park is currently in the midst of field trips that will run from January to July to bring an approximate 1,200 4th graders to the park to explore and learn. By working with teachers to expand on the park’s online curriculum to align with Oregon Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, kids will have the opportunity to conduct snow science experiments while also exploring the park on snowshoes. 

Transportation grants allowed kids to visit Mount Rainier National Park for a day long field trip. Many of the students had never visited the park before and were excited to traverse the snow covered park in snowshoes!

Mt Rainier in the Winter

At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the park truly embraces the experience of visiting during the winter. They say that during this time the park has a whole new feel!  Field trips allowed kids to snowshoe through the park, learn about winter ecology at the park, and connect with the landscape. They had the opportunity to see glaciers, ice on Lake Michigan, and hike through the snow, seeing miles and miles of snow all around them.  Rangers visited the classrooms before the field trips to prepare them on basic snowshoe use. During the visit, children had a guided 45 minute snowshoeing excursion as well as free time to explore.

Mesa Verde National Park took advantage of NPF support to upgrade its winter outdoor resources and educate the public on using its winter trails. The park purchased snowshoes and poles for visitors to use and they also improved trail conditions and provided interpretive brochures for self-guided winter ecology tours of the trails.

A participant shared that “This morning in Mesa Verde National Park we took a snowshoe tour led by Sean Duffy and Paul Morey on Plant and Animal Adaptations in Mesa Verde. The tour was excellent and our guides were extremely knowledgeable. We learned about animal tracks and the survival strategies of both plants and animals in the park.”

The frosty weather doesn’t stop our programs! Help us support programs in our national parks throughout all the seasons.

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