Winter adventures in TRNPAfter a few months of winter weather hibernation, Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit is offering snow revelers a chance to take part in an educational exercise experience.
By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press
After a few months of winter weather hibernation, Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit is offering snow revelers a chance to take part in an educational exercise experience.
Beginning Saturday at noon Dickinson-time, or 1 p.m. CST, District Interpreter Eric Haugland will lead guided snowshoe and cross-country ski treks.
“The North Unit is beautiful in winter, but many people do not think about venturing out in the park this time of year,” said Park Superintendent Valerie Naylor, in a press release. “This is a great opportunity to see the park with a ranger while it’s quiet and snow-covered.”
The event will focus on the winter landscape and the methods wildlife use in adapting to winter in the Badlands, according to a press release.
Those who cannot make the event’s first scheduled date can also participate on Feb. 13 and 20.
Spanning about 90 minutes and free of charge, Haugland said the trek will cover one to two miles.
However, those who wish to continue trekking through the park after 90 minutes may certainly do so, Haugland said.
Snowshoers and cross-country skiers of all skill levels are invited to participate and must provide their own equipment.
“These activities are excellent opportunities for beginning and casual snowshoe walkers and cross-country skiers to experience the pleasure of a winter trek in the company of others,” according to a press release.
Haugland said there will not be any ski tracks or groomed trails, so participants will be breaking new trails, adding the snow isn’t too deep.
After participants meet at the North Unit Visitor Center, the trek will most likely start in the campground, where he will talk about animal adaptations, Haugland said.
After the discussion, the group will move to the frozen Little Missouri River to follow animal tracks.
Haugland said participants have an excellent chance at seeing white-tail and mule deer as the animals are “yarding,” an activity which keeps trails open through the movement of large groups while providing protection from predators.
“Many have moved into the campground as there is more shelter with the trees and an easier access to a food source as, due to the snow and ice, it is harder to get to the grasses,” Haugland said in an e-mail. “They have changed from grazers to browsers, eating the shrubs and tree branches.”
Chances of seeing bison are slimmer, however, as during winter the animals venture higher into the bluffs.
Originally a Minnesota-based snowshoer and cross-country skier, Haugland said the activity can be an exhilarating one.
“If you really get going, you can workout…it’s a good exercise,” Haugland said.
Activities may be canceled if extreme weather is forecasted, so park officials urge those interested to check the day’s weather conditions by calling the North Unit Visitor’s Center at 701-842-2333.