Although in some parts of America, January is the time when bikes and
hiking boots are put away in closets and garages, in other parts of the country
it heralds the beginning of an altogether different season--a time to pull out
the skis, snowshoes and sleds.
Many states saw their first heavy snowfalls of the season this past
weekend, great news for those who use their local rail-trail as a route for
cross-country skiing, a snowmobile avenue or even a race track for their
In Washington, snowfalls
this weekend meant supporters of the Ferry County Rail Trail (pictured, right) commenced their
ski grooming program for sections of the trail that pass through the Curlew
Lake area. Skiing is a
popular activity on the trail this time of year, and while walking and snowshoeing
are still encouraged, people are urged not to walk in tracks specially groomed
for skis. The grooming is approved by the local county commission and funded by
donations to the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.
In Southington, Conn., the town council recently endorsed a plan to leave part of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail
unplowed this winterto provide trail-use opportunities for skiers.
North of the border, the Slocan Valley Heritage Trail Society, which supports the Slocan
Valley Rail Trail near the town of Nelson, in British Columbia, is getting
ready to host its eighth annual ski and snowshoe day on the trail, January 29. This popular event
started as a way to encourage locals to discover new scenic locations on the trail but has grown into a friendly social gathering, with a diverse community
get-together around a toasty bonfire. All winter long, trail society volunteers
have been grooming and track-setting the entire 31-mile length of the trail.
As the palette of
our landscape turns from green and brown to white, rail-trails from New
Hampshire to Idaho and Oregon are welcoming a new season of users. If you
haven't made a winter trip along your favorite trail, give it a try! Contact
your local trail organization or recreation group for scheduled outings.
Photo courtesy of Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
Washington, DC 20037