While the white stuff falls, the Jefferson County Parks Department has been busy getting ready for the 2010-2011 winter hiking and cross country ski season. If you’re not familiar with cross country skiing in Jefferson County, you will be happy to know that the Jefferson County Parks Department currently maintains cross country skiing and hiking trails in 6 of its 16 parks, boasting over 16.5 miles of groomed classic and skate ski trails, as well as groomed hiking trails.

Dorothy Carnes County Park East and West Access will have a total of 8.4 miles of groomed trails open for the season. The routes are posted at each of the trail head facilities and are easy to follow. East and West Carnes Park features moderate rolling hills with gentle grades and great views of Rose Lake and the surrounding glaciated plains. Trails are groomed and set for classic style cross country skiing and take you through majestic oak forests, restored prairies and savanna grasslands. Plenty of parking, a great shelter and restrooms are available at the West trailhead facility. The park boasts more than 4.9 miles of groomed trails that meander throughout the property’s beautiful landscape.

Carlin Weld County Park, located in southeastern Jefferson County has an excellent trailhead facility with a shelter, restroom, large parking lot and a playground for the kids. Cross country ski trails are groomed and set for skate skiing with 2 miles of groomed trails following along the park’s spring-fed ponds, restored grasslands, wetlands, and savanna prairies.

Korth County Park, located on Rock Lake near Lake Mills, currently has over 2.25 miles of groomed trails. The trails meander along the shore of Rock Lake and through the restored savanna and prairies of the park. Park facilities include the Korth and Elm Point shelters, parking lots, and year-round bathrooms at the Elm Point Road park entrance.

The Jefferson County Parks Department also maintains hiking and skiing trails at Upper Rock Lake County Park on the northern edge of Rock Lake in Lake Mills. The park offers a short .75 mile trail with challenging climbs and steep downhill sections. The trails take you on a path through the park’s hardwood forests and solitary park settings.

The final location of the trail grooming program is the County’s highly acclaimed Dog Park, located north of Jefferson on Hwy 26. The Jefferson County Dog Park and Terri Tinsley Dog Exercise Area boast four separate dog exercise areas totaling 109 acres, with a total of 3.1 miles of groomed hiking trails. It is recommended for hiking and snowshoeing only in this park due to the high number of four-legged friends running the rounds and creating unassuming obstacles to skis. This is a great area to get out into the white stuff with your four-legged friends and stretch those neglected cold weather legs for some great outdoor fun!

For additional information, review the Parks of Jefferson County, contact Jane, or call 920-674-7260.