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Park District offers outdoor winter activities

The skating area is now open at Gartner Park - shown here in 2010.  |  Submitted
Sledding on Rotary Hill in February 2013.  |  Submitted

Facts

Other options Looking for reasons to get outside this winter? The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has many reasons to brave the cold for a little fun. Activities like snow tubing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing await those who welcome the freezing conditions. Mount Hoy The tubing hill at Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville offers rides down an 800-foot run and a chance to explore surrounding trails by snowshoe. When 3 or more inches of snow covers the hill, the facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends from December through February, and the following school holidays: winter break, Dec. 23 through Jan. 3; Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20; and Presidents Day, Feb. 17. The hill will be closed Dec. 25. Only forest preserve district inner tubes are permitted on Mount Hoy and are $5 a tube per day. Snowshoes cost $5 for two hours or $10 a day. Tube rentals end at 3:30 p.m., and snowshoe rentals end at 2 p.m. To hear snow conditions, call the district’s Outdoor Report at 630-871-6422. Snowshoing Visitors can use their own snowshoes or cross-country skis at most DuPage preserves. When conditions permit, staff members groom trails for classical and freestyle cross-country skiing at the following forest preserves: Blackwell in Warrenville, Danada in Wheaton, Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook, Greene Valley in Naperville, Herrick Lake in Wheaton, Hidden Lake in Downers Grove, Mallard Lake in Hanover Park, Meacham Grove in Bloomingdale, Springbrook Prairie in Naperville, Waterfall Glen in Darien, and West DuPage Woods in West Chicago. All trail users are asked to take care not to damage tracks that have been set. For trail conditions information, call the Outdoor Report at 630-871-6422. Ice fishing, skating Frozen lakes provide opportunities for ice skaters and anglers. At least 4 inches of clear ice is recommended for any ice activity. Rangers do not monitor ice thickness, and all ice-related activities are done at the user’s own risk. District regulations permit two ice-fishing holes at one time, no more than 10 inches in diameter. Because of fluctuating water levels, ice skating and ice fishing are always prohibited at Spring Creek Reservoir Forest Preserve in Bloomingdale. Sledding A sled, some snow and some open space can create fun for young and old alike. Visitors can sled at their own risk at most forest preserves unless otherwise posted. Sledding is always prohibited at Mount Hoy at Blackwell, the closed landfill sites at Greene Valley and Mallard Lake forest preserves and any slopes at Spring Creek Reservoir. Winter programs The district offers many outdoor winter programs such as guided hikes, horse-drawn sleigh rides and nature workdays. View upcoming events on the district’s website at dupageforest.org/calendar.aspx and in The Conservationist, the district’s quarterly publication. Print subscriptions are free for DuPage County residents and $5 a year for nonresidents; email subscriptions are free for all. To subscribe, call 630-933-7085 or send an email to forest@dupageforest.org.

It looks like it will be a white Christmas this year — just in time for winter break. From ice skating to sledding, the Naperville Park District offers plenty of ways to enjoy the snow.

Because of the cold weather earlier this month, two of the Naperville Park District’s five ice skating areas were open, but rainy conditions this weekend might hamper their staying that way.

Skating areas require at least 72 hours of temperatures at 15 degrees or below before ice-making can begin.

Skating areas were open at Nike Sports Complex, 288 W. Diehl Road, and at Gartner Park, 524 W. Gartner Road. Park district staff also were preparing three additional outdoor rinks for use at Commissioners Park, Centennial Park and Meadow Glens, which is opening for the first time this year.

The skating season ends Feb. 15, weather permitting. The rinks at Centennial Park, Nike Sports Complex and Commissioners Park are lighted and stay open until 10 p.m., while Gartner Park and Meadow Glens close at dusk.

Sled hills are open when the soil is frozen and when there are at least 2 inches of snow with no visible grass. Sledding, conditions permitting, and continues through Feb. 28.

The following sled hills close one hour after sunset, except Rotary Hill, which is lighted and open until 9 p.m. weekdays, and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Arrowhead Park, 711 Iroquois Ave.

Brook Crossings, 1015 95th St.

Country Lakes Park, 1835 North Aurora Road

Gartner Park, 524 W. Gartner Road

May Watts Park, 804 S. Whispering Hills Drive

Riverwalk Sled Hill at Rotary Hill, 441 Aurora Ave.

The Naperville Park District’s Riverwalk Eatery also will open from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday afternoons through mid-February as long as the sled hill at Rotary Hill is open. As conditions permit, it also will open from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 23, 26, 27, 30 and 31, and Jan. 2 and 3. The shop also will be open from 5:30 to 7 p.m. during the family-friendly Carillon Countdown celebration for New Year’s Eve.

The district offers one location exclusively for snowboarding: Weigand Riverfront Park, 2436 S. Washington St. (No sleds are allowed on this hill.)

For conditions at these locations, visit www.napervilleparks.org or call 630-848-5000. To check the status of skating areas, access the rain out line at 630-883-4242, www.napervilleparks.org/cancellations, or sign up for email or text updates, or download the free app to a smartphone.

Read More Things To Do

Facts

Other options Looking for reasons to get outside this winter? The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has many reasons to brave the cold for a little fun. Activities like snow tubing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing await those who welcome the freezing conditions. Mount Hoy The tubing hill at Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville offers rides down an 800-foot run and a chance to explore surrounding trails by snowshoe. When 3 or more inches of snow covers the hill, the facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends from December through February, and the following school holidays: winter break, Dec. 23 through Jan. 3; Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20; and Presidents Day, Feb. 17. The hill will be closed Dec. 25. Only forest preserve district inner tubes are permitted on Mount Hoy and are $5 a tube per day. Snowshoes cost $5 for two hours or $10 a day. Tube rentals end at 3:30 p.m., and snowshoe rentals end at 2 p.m. To hear snow conditions, call the district’s Outdoor Report at 630-871-6422. Snowshoing Visitors can use their own snowshoes or cross-country skis at most DuPage preserves. When conditions permit, staff members groom trails for classical and freestyle cross-country skiing at the following forest preserves: Blackwell in Warrenville, Danada in Wheaton, Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook, Greene Valley in Naperville, Herrick Lake in Wheaton, Hidden Lake in Downers Grove, Mallard Lake in Hanover Park, Meacham Grove in Bloomingdale, Springbrook Prairie in Naperville, Waterfall Glen in Darien, and West DuPage Woods in West Chicago. All trail users are asked to take care not to damage tracks that have been set. For trail conditions information, call the Outdoor Report at 630-871-6422. Ice fishing, skating Frozen lakes provide opportunities for ice skaters and anglers. At least 4 inches of clear ice is recommended for any ice activity. Rangers do not monitor ice thickness, and all ice-related activities are done at the user’s own risk. District regulations permit two ice-fishing holes at one time, no more than 10 inches in diameter. Because of fluctuating water levels, ice skating and ice fishing are always prohibited at Spring Creek Reservoir Forest Preserve in Bloomingdale. Sledding A sled, some snow and some open space can create fun for young and old alike. Visitors can sled at their own risk at most forest preserves unless otherwise posted. Sledding is always prohibited at Mount Hoy at Blackwell, the closed landfill sites at Greene Valley and Mallard Lake forest preserves and any slopes at Spring Creek Reservoir. Winter programs The district offers many outdoor winter programs such as guided hikes, horse-drawn sleigh rides and nature workdays. View upcoming events on the district’s website at dupageforest.org/calendar.aspx and in The Conservationist, the district’s quarterly publication. Print subscriptions are free for DuPage County residents and $5 a year for nonresidents; email subscriptions are free for all. To subscribe, call 630-933-7085 or send an email to forest@dupageforest.org.
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