BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – Ice, frozen tundra, and lots and lots of snow.
When we think of winter in northeast Wisconsin, those images are probably among the first to pop into our minds. But this January hasn’t been emblematic of the typical cold Wisconsin winter which presents some challenges for local recreation departments.
“It seems like the last couple years we’re seeing these mid-January thaws and this one is lasting a bit longer than others,” said Matt Kriese who is the director of the Brown County Parks Department.
Kriese said the county has had to shut down its snowmobile, cross-country skiing, and snowshoe trails since around the beginning of the month because there’s not enough snow on the ground. He said the fat-tire bike trail is open.
Brown County has over 200 miles of snowmobile trails, 30 miles of cross-country skiing trails, and around ten miles of snowshoeing trails. The county rents out cross-country skis through the NEW Zoo and Adventure Park.
Kriese said his staff has worked tirelessly to groom and prepare the trails and all they need is one good snowfall to open them up again.
“The next snowstorm is around the corner we know that it will happen we do live in Wisconsin and until then we will wait and provide the opportunities that we can in the county parks,” said Kriese.
Kriese said that winter sport equipment rental is a revenue source for the county, but that it’s nominal so he’s not worried that the trails are closed right now.
Also because of the lack of snow, the Green Bay Parks and Recreation Department had to close down the tubing hill at Triangle Park.
An official with the parks and recreation department told Local Five News that they are working in conjunction with the Baird Creek Preservation Foundation to raise money for snow machines. They hope to have them operational by next year so that even without natural snow they’ll be able to open the tubing hill.
One of their fundraisers is on Friday. It’s a fun run called Frenzy on the Fox and you can click here for more information about the event.
Zeller’s Ski and Sports sells winter sports gear and apparel. Their owner told Local Five News that sales have been good this year despite the weather.
“People who are a little bit more into the sport will realize that even though I don’t see snow on the ground I can go out west or there are other options where they make snow,” said Zeller.
Places that use snow-making machines have been able to stay open despite the unseasonably warm weather and lack of snow.
One of those places is Kewaunee Winter Park which has been able to keep its popular tubing hill open. However, county officials did say that their cross-country skiing trails and outdoor skating rinks aren’t open right now because of the weather.
Titletown officials told Local Five News they’ve been able to keep their tubing hill and skating rink open for almost the entirety of the winter so far. They also make snow.
Officials encourage the public to find fun ways to still get outside during the winter even when there isn’t snow on the ground.
“If you sit around all winter it’s going to be a long winter,” said Zeller.