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Contact(s): Paul Holtan, office of communications, 608-267-7517 or 608-235-2126
December 22, 2015

More than 30 candlelight events will be held at DNR properties across the state this winter. Trails are lit with hundreds of candles, like this trail at the Flambeau River State Forest.
More than 30 candlelight events will be held at DNR properties across the state this winter. Trails are lit with hundreds of candles, like this trail at the Flambeau River State Forest.
Photo Credit: WDNR

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated with the addition of a candlelight events Feb. 6 at Big Foot Beach, Brunet Island and Copper Falls state parks and Feb. 13 at Interstate Park.

MADISON - Mother Nature may be throwing a wrench into snow-based winter activities in Wisconsin, but most state park, forest, trail and recreation properties are adapting and planning to go ahead with the more than 30 candlelight events this winter even if there isn't snow for skiing or snowshoeing.

"Almost all of our properties are reporting that if there is not snow for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, they plan to hold the events as winter hikes," said Paul Holtan, communications specialist for the state parks program.

This winter's candlelight events kick off January 2 at Blue Mound State Park west of Madison and Mirror Lake State Park southeast of Lake Delton and run on weekends through February 20.

Skiing, snowshoeing and hiking by candlelight have become some of the most popular winter events at Department of Natural Resources properties, with some events attracting more than a thousand visitors. Last year about 2,000 people showed up at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center for their candlelight event. This year the center has set up shuttle busses running from Mayville and Horicon between 4:30-9:30 p.m. and is encouraging visitors to use them as parking at the facility is limited.

Some properties offer skiing, snowshoeing and hiking, while others offer just skiing or just snowshoeing and hiking. Most events begin around sunset and run until 8:30 or 9 p.m.

Many of the events include additional activities such as bonfires, and hot chocolate and other refreshments may be available for sale. Some events offer grills for cooking food or roasting marshmallows. Some properties have warming shelters that are open for the events. Many of the events are organized by the friends groups of the parks, which provide much of the volunteer labor for the events.

People can check on the details of each event by going to the Department of Natural Resources website,, and searching keywords "get outdoors" and clicking on the "type" button and then checking only the "candlelight" box under listed activities. For more information on park or forest properties and locations, search for keywords "find a park." Regular park and trail fees apply for the events unless otherwise noted.

While most events will not be cancelled due to lack of snow, they still could be cancelled if conditions are icy, extremely cold or have severe wind chills, so people are encouraged to check the website and call properties directly to confirm the event will be held if threatening weather is in the forecast.

2016 Wisconsin State Park Winter Candlelight Events

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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