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Iron River NFH: A winter wonderland
Midwest Region, January 9, 2020
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Iron River National Fish Hatchery staff grooming ski trail on hatchery grounds.
Iron River National Fish Hatchery staff grooming ski trail on hatchery grounds. - Photo Credit: Photo by USFWS.
a cross country skier on the Iron River Simpson Trail System.
a cross country skier on the Iron River Simpson Trail System. - Photo Credit: FWS

The Simpson Trail System at the Iron River National Fish Hatchery is an excellent avenue to enjoy the outdoors. This system is a collection of trails totaling just over three miles that meander throughout the 1,200-acre property consisting of forested swamp hardwoods and conifers. The trails are maintained year round, and hatchery staff groom the trail system during the winter for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The winter access to the trail system provides a unique perspective into the winter landscape of the Northland.

 

These activities are not only a great way to escape cabin fever, but can also be a great way to view breathtaking winter scenery; figuratively and literally, as temperatures can reach -20 degrees in the winter time at the hatchery. Wildlife is abundant on hatchery grounds so finding animal tracks along the trail system is common place. Tracks from white-tailed deer, bobcats, coyotes, squirrels, snowshoe hares, turkeys, and grouse are some of the more common tracks observed. Snowshoes are available at the hatchery visitor center to borrow for use on the trail system, which is located at the trail head.

For an even more unique winter experience, every February the hatchery hosts a candlelight snowshoe trek. This event provides the opportunity to snowshoe a groomed trail through the forest at night. Snowshoers can then warm up next to a bon fire, eat s’mores, drink hot cocoa, and reminisce with fellow participants. This year’s event is scheduled to take place on February 22.


Contact Info: Jeremy Trimpey, 715-372-8510, jeremy_trimpey@fws.gov
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