It took until the end of the old year for Mother Nature to deliver a snow base over Kewaunee County, but the first week of the New Year has the county Promotions & Recreation Department getting its winter recreational facilities ready.

Snowmaking is underway at Winter Park, and Promotions & Recreation Director Dave Myers says he expects the tubing hill to be open for the season on Saturday.

“We will also be able to allow snowshoeing at this time, but skiing and snowboarding will be dependent on whether or not temperatures allow us to make enough snow for those hills,” Myers said.

Staff is also asking that visitors be patient with a new COVID-19 protocol, he said.

“In order to keep visitors healthy as well as park staff and volunteers, we will temporarily be shortening weekend public park hours, limiting the number of available snow tubes, reducing building capacity in the warming chalet and requiring face masks be worn when inside as long as it is State mandated,” Myers said. “We checked with other skiing and snow tubing facilities across the state, and COVID-19 safety plans are now standard.”

Also almost ready for a grand opening is the new Dana Farm Ice Skating Rink, a project primarily funded with a donation from the Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days 2017 Executive Committee.

The outdoor ice skating rink at N3787 Ransom Moore Lane, adjacent to Winter Park, is freezing over and is expected to be open as soon as weather permits. It will be lighted and free to use, but visitors must bring their own skates.

“We just need the temperatures drop further for solid ice and we can open for skating,” said Dave Myers, Kewaunee County Promotion & Recreation Director. “Now, unlike Winter Park, the ice rink is an unsupervised activity, so it will be use at your own risk, and if we need to clear snow from the ice, we ask that visitors be patient.”

This season, public Winter Park hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays for snow tubing and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. On Sundays, hours will be 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for snow tubing and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.

The cost for snow tubing is $8 per person for two hours. The cost for skiing and snowboarding is $15 for the day, and snowshoeing is free.

Visitors will be able to skate at the Dana Farm property 9 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week during the winter season as long as the ice is in good condition.

To check on conditions ahead of time, call the 24/7 Kewaunee County Promotions & Recreation Hotline at 920-388-7199.

A larger project

On site, visitors to Dana Farm will have access to the property’s newly constructed park shelter with public restrooms that can be used year-round, which includes those taking advantage of the 27-hole disc golf course that winds around Winter Park during the warmer months.

The total project cost of the Dana Farm project is estimated at $100,000 as it also includes restoring the historic cabin on the property.

“This is the childhood home of Ransom Asa Moore, who is known as the ‘Father of Wisconsin 4-H’ and a founder of the UW-Madison Department of Agronomy,” said Aerica Bjurstrom, Kewaunee County agricultural agent and a member of the Farm Tech Days executive committee. “Moore also developed the UW-Madison Agriculture Short Course Program, which is still a thriving program at the University today. It was built in the 1850s and it’s the agricultural connection that interested Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days 2017 in the project to ensure its viability for years to come.”

Aside from Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days 2017, other project partners included Kewaunee County government as well as private donors.

Growing destination

The past two Winter Park seasons have had the highest recorded attendance with 13,674 visitors at the park during the 2018-19 season and 13,623 welcomed during 2019-20.

“We are growing as a winter destination by continuing to attract thousands of visitors to Winter Park each season,” said Jennifer Gonzalez, Kewaunee County Tourism Coordinator, “and with COVID-19 still lingering, people are eager to get out of their homes and have an adventure, so with attendance anticipated to be high again this season, it’s best practice to have a plan in place to keep everyone safe and the park open.”

More information on the Promotions & Recreation Department COVID-19 Safety Plan can be found under the County parks section on www.kewauneeco.org as well as www.visitkewauneecounty.com.