Parks staff have made some changes to rental policies this year. One major change is that snowshoes and other gear need to be reserved and paid for ahead of time, to keep people outside and to keep interactions to a minimum.
“We’re able to still rent snowshoes,” said Todd Murawski at Wargo Nature Center. “Our demand is up. More and more people are coming out – even during the week.”
And this year, most of this demand is coming from people looking to try something new.
“One of the things I’ve been noticing with the pandemic is it’s been getting people outside and trying these new activities – especially snowshoeing. It’s easy. It’s stable.”
Once you strap on your snowshoes, you can explore the park- on the trail, on the lake, or through less traveled terrain.
In a few of the county’s parks, however, there are some areas snowshoers should stay away from. Only people on cross-country skis should travel on the groomed ski trails at Chomonix, Rum River Central Park, and Bunker Hills Regional Park. This benefits both the skiers and those on snowshoes.
“I always tell people, when they are snowshoeing on packed trails like that, you really aren’t getting the effect of the snowshoe. So not only does it impact our cross country skiing, but it’s better for snowshoers to get off trail, and get into the deeper snow.”
You can make reservations online for equipment at Bunker Hills Regional Park and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. For equipment at Wargo Nature Center, you can call 763-324-3350.