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January 3, 2012

Minimal snow cover in southern, central Wisconsin may result in candlelight hikes

MADISON - While a New Years snowstorm brought much needed snow to northern Wisconsin, a lack of snow in southern and central Wisconsin means many scheduled upcoming candlelight ski events at Wisconsin state parks, forests and trails may be held only as candlelight hikes.

More than 30 candlelight events are scheduled this winter at Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas, beginning with five events Jan. 7. The events have become increasingly popular in recent years, with some attracting several hundred visitors. A candlelight ski and snowshoe hike at Blue Mound State Park last February attracted an estimated 1,500 people.

While the events have benefited from good early snowfalls in Wisconsin the past several years, this year's lack of snow across much of Wisconsin means many events will likely be held as just candlelight hikes. And some events could be cancelled if icy, frozen ground presents a hazard to hiking. People interested in attending events should call ahead to confirm the event will be held and to find out if there is enough snow for skiing.

A New Years snowstorm dumped as much as a foot of snow in far north central Wisconsin, but snow cover across much of southern and central Wisconsin was minimal as of the first week of January. Additional snowfall could improve conditions for events that are held later in the winter.

Most events held throughout the winter include additional activities, including bonfires and hot chocolate and other refreshments for sale. Some events offer grills for cooking food or roasting marshmallows.

Candlelight events are free, but 2012 Wisconsin State Park annual or daily vehicle admission stickers are required. Pets are prohibited on the trails at most candlelight events, except on the Blue Mound snowshoe/hiking trail were leashed pets are allowed.

The complete list of candlelight events with times and more details is available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin State Parks - (608) 266-2181

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 03, 2012

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