Manitoba Conservation and Climate will again offer free entry to provincial parks throughout the month of February so Manitobans and visitors can take advantage of the many winter activities available in the parks.
Vehicle permits are not required in any provincial park in February, but Snopasses are still required for snowmobiles using groomed trails in the parks. As well, entrance fees still apply in national parks. There are groomed trails in provincial parks across Manitoba for a variety of activities including cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fat biking, snowshoeing and hiking. Paint Lake, Spruce Woods and Turtle Mountain provincial parks also offer outdoor skating areas, hockey rinks and toboggan hills.
Trail grooming reports are updated online every Thursday throughout the winter. Manitobans are encouraged to check trail conditions and weather forecasts to plan their outdoor adventures before visiting parks. Maps of winter trails and updated reports can be found at www.manitobaparks.com. Trail users are reminded to use only the trails designated for their activities, to keep dogs on leashes and to practise ‘Leave No Trace’.
Provincial parks have seen a significant increase in use this winter as safe outdoor places for Manitobans to get physical exercise and fresh air. While being outdoors and active in nature is important for physical and mental health, COVID-19 public health orders must be followed including steps such as physical distancing from anyone not in your household. Crowds and busy trails can be avoided by visiting parks during non-peak times such as early weekend mornings and weekdays. Information on COVID-19 restrictions in provincial parks is available at www.manitobaparks.com.
Park interpreters are offering weekly online events and webinars this winter for Manitobans to learn and discover provincial parks safely at home. Highlights for the month of February include:
• learn cross-country ski techniques Wednesday, Feb. 3;
• a Parks After Dark presentation on eclipses with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Sunday, Feb. 7;
• skijoring and kick-sledding demonstrations Wednesday, Feb. 17;
• a presentation on the owls of Manitoba Saturday, Feb 20; and
• a behind-the-scenes tour of the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery Saturday, Feb. 27.
More information on these events and other upcoming programs can be found under the events tab on the Manitoba Parks Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MBGovParks and online at www.manitobaparks.com.
Teachers can also book free virtual school programs throughout the winter season to bring parks into their classrooms. For more information on winter activities and interpretive programs in provincial parks, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.manitobaparks.com.
Manitobans can also stay up to date with provincial park news, activities and events by following the Twitter channel at www.twitter.com/MBGovParks and liking the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MBGovParks.
(Province of MB News Release)