The Manitoba government will again allow free entry to provincial parks for the entire month of February so Manitobans and visitors can take advantage of the many winter activities they offer, Environment, Climate and Parks Minister Jeff Wharton announced today.
“Free park entry gives everyone more opportunities to enjoy nature and the great outdoors,” said Wharton. “People across our province love Manitoba’s parks and our government is pleased to make it easier to explore them and to experience all that they offer.”
Vehicle permits will not be required at any provincial park in Manitoba in February, though Snopasses will be needed for snowmobilers using groomed trails in parks. Entrance fees will continue to apply at national parks.
Provincial parks have groomed trails 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. Trails province-wide are in excellent condition with a good snow base, the minister noted.
Manitobans are encouraged to check trail conditions and weather forecasts before visiting parks to properly plan their outdoor adventures. An online interactive trails map is updated regularly with grooming and condition reports at www.manitobaparks.com. Trail users are reminded to use only trails that are designated for their activities, to keep dogs on leashes and to practise the principles of Leave No Trace by not littering.
While being outdoors and active in nature is important for physical and mental health, COVID-19 public health orders must be followed, including for physical distancing and group size restrictions. Warming shelters are open with reduced capacity limits and masks are required indoors. Park visitors are reminded to observe capacity signs and to kindly limit their time in shelters to share with others. Information on COVID-19 guidelines in provincial parks is available at www.manitobaparks.com.
Park interpreters offer numerous guided experiences to help Manitobans learn and discover natural and cultural heritage at Birds Hill, Spruce Woods and Whiteshell provincial parks. Highlights in February will include wolf howl hikes, snowshoe treks, quinzhee building and ice fishing. Event details and registration information can be found under the events tab on the Manitoba Parks Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MBGovParks and at www.manitobaparks.com.
Teachers can also book free guided field trips to Birds Hill, Spruce Woods and Whiteshell provincial parks, along with virtual programs to bring park interpreters into their classrooms.
Annual park vehicle permits will be available for purchase beginning on March 1.