Monday, January 5, 2009

Ranger Led Snowshoe Hikes at Sleeping Bear

snowshoe hike
RANGER BILL Herd, center, talks with visitors
during a snowshoe hike at some
historic farmsteads at the Sleeping Bear Dunes
National Lakeshore last year
from the Leelanau News

Rangers at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will offer ranger-guided snowshoe hikes every Saturday again this winter, beginning on Dec. 27 through the end of February or later if conditions permit.

In addition to the Saturday programs, a special holiday vacation hike will be presented on Tuesday, Dec. 30.

Each hike will start with a meeting at the Philip Hart Visitor Center in Empire at 1 p.m. For those who don’t have their own snowshoes, the park will provide them free of charge.

Inside the Visitor Center, a park ranger will distribute snowshoes to those who need them and provide basic snowshoeing instructions. Then the ranger will lead everyone in their own cars to the trailhead of the day. On the trail, the ranger will help participants identify flora and fauna, learn more about the Lakeshore’s unique features, and witness the effects winter has on both.

Visitors should arrive prepared to be outside for about an hour and a half. To be most comfortable and warm, Park Service officials advise dressing in layers and wearing waterproof boots. The program will conclude by 3 p.m. back at the trailhead. The visitor center closes at 4 p.m.

The walk and the snowshoe loan are free. However, participants need to purchase a park entrance pass or display an annual pass in their vehicle in order to participate. Park passes cost $10 per vehicle and are good for seven days. The annual pass costs $20 and is valid for a year from the month of purchase. Reservations for the snowshoe hikes are not required but are suggested, especially for those who wish to borrow snowshoes or are with a group. Teachers and other group leaders may also schedule a ranger hike to take their group snowshoeing this winter.

For more information and to make reservations, phone 326-5134, extension 328.

See Sleeping Bear
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