BY JAMES GERCHY, OUTDOORS WRITER | SPECIAL TO TOWNSQUARE MEDIA


 

Looking for a fun outdoor winter activity? The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge may have just what you are looking for.

One of central Minnesota’s most important natural areas will host two free events that you and your family and friends can participate in.

On Friday, February 2 the refuge will host a moonlight cross country ski outing from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. near the Oak Savannah Learning Center, complete with a bonfire, complimentary beverages and treats, and a warm area to socialize with fellow Nordic skiers. Some portions of the trail will be lit by luminaries, but you are encouraged to bring a headlamp if you have one.

Participants must bring their own skis and weather-appropriate clothing.

Beginners and advanced skiers are all welcome. This is one of the few chances you will have to visit the refuge after sunset, the normal closing time for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife managed area.

This is a great opportunity for individuals of all skill levels to get out and explore trails, stay warm and active and enjoy a traditional winter day in Minnesota here at the Sherburne Refuge. -- Alaina Larkin, visitor services specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The second event is an afternoon snowshoeing trek on Sunday, February 11 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participants can explore on their own or join one of the two guided treks at 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Although snowshoers are encouraged to bring their own snowshoes, the refuge will have loaner pairs available if you are looking to try it out. Refuge staff will be there to help strap them on! The bonfire will be lit and refreshments will be provided.

Situated where the big woods and the tall-grass prairie meet, lands for the refuge were purchased with Federal Duck Stamp dollars in 1965. The grasslands, oak savannah, wetlands and forests are home to over 230 species of birds, 58 species of mammals, and 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and is designated as an important bird area by the National Audubon Society.

Located approximately 30 miles west of the St Cloud metro area, the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge features 30,000 acres of lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information contact refuge headquarters at 763-389-3323 or visit the Sherburne National Wildlife website.

 

Mary Carlson/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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