Winter Trails Day 2011
Fun for All Ages

Kids cross-counrty skiing

People checked-out free cross-country skis and snowshoes to use on trails around the Science Center. REI and the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Ski Outreach Program provided the equipment. Photo by Mitchel Veenstra

Editor’s note: Mitchel Veenstra, a University of Alaska Anchorage journalism student, wrote this article.

This year’s eighth annual Winter Trails Day was an amazing day for families. While the day started slow and temperatures hovered at 14 degrees below zero, the sun quickly warmed things up. Without a cloud in the sky, it was hard to resist the allure of heading to the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center to check out all of the fun Winter Trails Day activities.

More than 800 people "moved outside," a theme borrowed from the Department of the Interior’s initiative to get youth and families outdoors and exercising through the winter months.

This year also offered geocaching. To geocache, participants received a GPS unit and list of coordinates, and then used their GPS unit to find the spot. Michelle Reber brought her children to Winter Trails Day specifically to learn about geocaching. She said, "We got to learn how to find different waypoints, [and] it was exciting!"

Maria Shawback attended with her three children. "It’s great to be outside with all these activities!" she exclaimed.

Not all Winter Trails Day activities took place outside of the Science Center. Visitors could wander around indoors and view informational exhibits that highlighted different recreational clubs throughout Southcentral Alaska and offered winter safety and outdoor tips.

Winter bike rental tent.

group of women around the fire pit roasting marshmellows and eating s'mores.

(Above) Roasting marshmallows over an open fire kept bodies warm and spirits high!

(Left) Visitors could experience a fat-tire bike demonstration. Other activities included winter mountain biking, crawling through snow shelters, searching for avalanche beacons, and completing a snowshoe obstacle course. Photos by Mitchel Veenstra

Campbell Creek Science Center Manager Jeff Brune gave credit to the 40 community organizations, including REI, who helped with the event. "It was great to see families and friends playing outdoors and having fun in the snow. What a great community we have here in Anchorage!"

Be sure to mark your calendars with a reminder to attend the next Winter Trails Day in February 2012.

— Mitchel Veenstra, special to BLM-Alaska Frontiers

For more information on events at the Campbell Creek Science Center, visit http://www.blm.gov/ak/sciencecenter/ or sign up on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BLMCCSC for event tweets.