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Enjoying Nature in Winter

cross country ski trail in the turtle mountain aspen forest
Cross-country ski trail in the Turtle Mountain Aspen Forest

Winter is here. And for many of us it is the time of year to just stay indoors, hit the couch, and forget about getting outdoors to enjoy nature until spring. But give some consideration to getting outdoors and enjoying some of what nature has to offer during the winter months.

We are fortunate to live in a state that has an abundance of public lands where we can get outdoors and enjoy nature throughout the seasons. That includes National, State, and local parks, National Wildlife Refuges, State Forests, National Grasslands, State Wildlife Management Areas, and Waterfowl Production Areas. Most if not all these areas are accessible, and as one would expect, they support a wide array of flora and fauna.

There are certainly hunting and fishing opportunities to enjoy during the winter months. Snowmobiling can also be a good way to observe nature. Depending on snow conditions there should be several maintained and groomed snowmobile trails scattered around the state. And of course, one can enjoy snowmobiling off these trails as well.

Cross country skiing or snowshoeing is another great way observe nature and get some much-needed exercise during the winter months. Most state parks maintain cross country ski trails and trails for snowshoeing. And of course, breaking your own trail most anywhere can make for a fun outing.

If those activities do not interest you, simply going for a walk or drive can provide good opportunities for observing nature. Do not forget the binoculars and perhaps a bird guide. You may get some good looks at deer, fox, snowy owls, snow buntings, horned larks, and who knows what on your outing. So, wherever you live, and whatever your preferences, make a point of getting out and doing some nature watching this winter. There always seems to be something interesting to see out there.

Further resources:

Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of “Natural North Dakota” and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005 he has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for North Dakota’s newest newspaper, the Lake Metigoshe Mirror. His columns also appear under “The Naturalist” in several other weekly newspapers across North Dakota.
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