It has been an interesting year, to say the least, and here at Wright County Parks and Recreation we have been working hard to come up with a plan to provide some activities for you to get out and “Explore the Opportunities” with us. You will notice that we are still offering our normal slate of winter activities this year, but there are some modifications to them as we had to adjust to the state guidance for COVID-19. This is an exciting moment for us as a department to announce these activities and our plans, and we hope that you are excited as well.
First off, the Nature Center at Robert Ney Regional Park will open for winter operations starting January 2, 2021. Hours of operation are Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 pm. This is no different than in years past. Bathrooms in the building will be cleaned before opening and again at approximately 2 pm. We do require a face covering to enter the facility and plexiglass barriers will be installed at the rental counter for the protection of you and our staff. No equipment will be rented out twice during a day and all equipment that has been used will be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each day, so they are ready for use the next user. This will allow for approximately 18 hours of time between use on Saturday to Sunday.
Dog Sledding is scheduled for January 8 & 9, 2021, and this year we will be hosting this event at the East Unit of Robert Ney Regional Park. Due to restrictions limiting the amount of people we can have inside the Nature Center it was not feasible to host this event in its normal format. This year we are registering six people in each half our time slot for each two-hour session, we will not have the presentation before the ride as has been done is previous years. With that being said, you will get to experience a longer ride with the musher in a different part of the park that has not been used for this activity. Things to note. There will not be hot chocolate, coffee, cider, or snacks available this year at any event. We will have a fire going so that once your ride is completed you can hang out with us for a bit. There will be no indoor facility to use this year some come prepared, dress appropriately for weather conditions. Children ages 5 and under are free with a paid adult. The two-hour sessions are Friday, January 8, 2021 from 4-6 pm and 6:30-8:30 pm and then again on Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 8:30-10:30 am, 11 am-1 pm, and 2-4 pm.
For our Lantern Cross Country Ski events on January 23 and February 20, 2021 you will need to reserve rental equipment in advance if you don’t have your own. Equipment is limited so reservations will be taken until equipment is unavailable. If you have your own equipment, we hope to see you on the trails. Again, we will not be providing the normal coffee, cider, and hot chocolate. We are looking at providing some snacks that would be individually wrapped such as trail mix and crackers. We do have to mindful of the number of people inside the facility so if you step in to warm up please do not linger and be mindful of the capacity limits. This same procedure will apply to the Sweetheart Snowshoe/Boot Hike scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2021.
The other significant change is with Woodworking for Wildlife. In the past you have joined us in person at the Nature Center but this year we are going to provide a virtual experience. When you register you will be provided a kit for birdhouse that we will construct. You will need to come by our main office in Buffalo at 3500 Braddock Avenue NE to pick the kit up. Then on Saturday, February 6 at 2 pm we will post a video from our naturalist who will go through the program with you and show you how to construct your birdhouse and talk about placement, maintenance, and things of that nature as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read through all of this. This is just a snapshot of what is going on and we understand that this could all change at a moment’s notice. As a department we would like to thank you all for your patience and support through this crazy year so far. We feel fortunate and proud to be able to provide activities and places for you to get out and enjoy the natural world in Wright County. Be sure to follow our Facebook page and our website for the latest updates and information.