Arctic travel: Public can try snowshoeing at event in local park

Public can try snowshoeing at event in local park

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette City and Brandon Park officials try out snow shoeing at Brandon Park Thursday afternoon. From left is Sue Stackhouse, volunteer at Crystal Lake, Mayor Gabriel Campana, Jessie Novinger, city recreation director, Thad Meckley, Brandon Park Commission chairman, and Jessica Franco, Lycoming College senior and intern for the city recreation department. There will be snow shoeing in the park on Friday Feb. 9 from 5-7 pm for those interested in trying out the sport.

The city recreation department and Crystal Lake Ski Center will hold a snowshoe event from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Brandon Park.

Last Thursday, a few city officials, including Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, tried snowshoeing through snow in the park.

“It’s great fun and introduces the outdoors to our city’s recreational activities over the winter,” Campana said.

The snowshoes, which weigh a few pounds and easily strap over winter boots, give the walker less pressure per square foot, pressing out snow and enabling him or her to walk on snow, no matter how deep, said Sue Stackhouse, a volunteer with the ski camp near Hughesville.

A series of cleats on the bottom of each shoe provides traction for walking up or down hills or bumps in the landscape, Stackhouse said.

The ski center’s director, Nathan Bowen, reached out to Jessie Novinger, city recreation director, after reading a recent article in the Sun-Gazette. The article included information on the desire of the commission and department to explore winter activities. It asked people to call the office or contact Novinger if they had any ideas in terms of winter recreation.

The interest for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the park, a former activity, also was seen two years ago in a survey presented by the department and Brandon Park Commission as part of the city park masterplan, said Thad Meckley,

Brandon Park Commission chairman.

Snowshoeing is a good exercise for cardiovascular health and for those needing to exercise their hips and knees, said William McConnell, a member of the park commission.

Snowshoes will be available to try out at the event, which will begin from a staging area at the bandshell, he said.

Bowen said participants should dress warmly and wear winter boots that are waterproof.

The group is preparing to provide bottled water, snacks and hot coffee and chocolate.

Meckley said the intent is to revive cross-country skiing and open trails in addition to the snowshoeing.

If there is not sufficient snow on the day of the event, it will be rescheduled to Feb. 16 at the same time.