Commission ceremony Friday marks opening lighted ski trails, Nordic Center
LAKE ELMO — Washington County residents can enjoy several winter activities at Lake Elmo Regional Park over the next two months.
The first event is a short program at 4 p.m. Friday that marks the official opening of the park’s lighted cross-country ski trails and Nordic Center.
The event at the Nordic Center includes a short introduction to the facility and remarks by county commissioners. Participants can then take ski the lighted trails.
The Nordic Center was opened last fall and serves as the trailhead for the lighted trails. The LED lights were installed in 2011 on poles four to five feet above and are in hooded fixtures that focus light down the corridors and not into the sky.
The $1.3 million project was funded through a Park and Trail Fund grant that was part of the Clean Water Land and Legacy amendment and other grants. No county property tax levy funds were used.
If you’re interested in an indoor event, the Nordic Center hosts a talk by Wisconsin native Jim Ryder on his Alaskan sled dog adventure from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 19.
Ryder journeyed 800 miles solo by dog team from Nenana to Nome, Alaska, in early 2011, replicating the original “Serum Run” that follows part of the Iditarod Trail and was the route of the sled-dog relay that carried diphtheria antitoxin to Nome in 1925.
Ryder will share stories and images from his trip, display his gear and talk about his preparation for the adventure, including dog training.
Ryder’s program is free and beverages are available from center vending machines. This program will be cancelled in the event of inclement weather.
If you want to participate in something more active, the park offers snowshoe lessons from 1 to 2:15 p.m. Jan. 20 and Feb. 3 and 24.
A Warner Nature Center instructor will explain the basics of snowshoeing and help participants trek through the snow and look for wildlife.
Participants must be 9 years of age or older and are required to wear boots and dress in layers according to the weather. Warner Nature Center provides the snowshoes.
Class sizes are limited and registration is required. Call 651-430-8370 to register. Cost is $5. The program meets at the previous ski shelter near the main trailhead parking lot.
If the three scheduled lessons fill up and there is enough snow cover, more lessons will be added.
Park $5 daily or $25 annual vehicle park permit is required on all vehicles and can be purchased at the park contact station. The park entrance fee is being waived for Friday’s ski trail celebration.
Visit www.co.washington.mn.us/parks for program information, trail maps and directions to the park. Lake Elmo Park Reserve is at the intersection of County Roads 19 and 10, one mile north of Interstate 94.