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Candlelight ski event becomes hike

Lake Carlos State Park hasn't gotten enough snow for candlelight skiing this weekend, so it's doing a candlelight hike instead.

The park still lacks enough snow cover to groom ski trails, said park naturalist Ben Eckhoff.

"The new snow helped, but we had lost so much the weeks before we are starting over from bare ground in many places," he said. "We have our fingers crossed that we might get enough snow to groom yet this season, but not for this event on Saturday."

Hikers are invited to drop by anytime from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, to follow a trail with stars overhead and candles flickering in the snow.

"Candlelight brings out winter's soft side," said Erika Rivers, director of the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division, in a news release. "The flickering light against snow creates an unforgettable experience. An evening walk becomes so much more on a candle-lit trail aided by light from the moon and stars."

The 1.2-mile trail starts at the warming shelter in Lakeview Group Camp and is suitable for beginner-level hikers and snowshoers of all ages.

The evening wraps up with a steaming cup of cider and cookies near a crackling fire.

A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks. Permits are available at the park as well as online at www.mndnr.gov/reservations.

Severe weather may cause this event to be changed or canceled. For updates, call 320-852-7200 or check the visitor alert online at www.mndnr.gov/lakecarlos.

Eckhoff said the park also welcomes volunteers to help with setting up, lighting luminaries, parking and picking up luminaries. To volunteer, contact him at 320-852-7200 ext. 225 or benjamin.eckhoff@state.mn.us.