Winter group picture at event
November 25, 2019

Sharing your park or trail with your family this holiday season

An update from Arielle Courtney, DNR

Sharing your park is caring for your park (or trail!). While some of you may seek solace from the stresses of the holiday season by taking some alone time in nature, don’t forget to bring your friends, family, and neighbors out with you as well.

Scientific reasons to share your park or trail this season:

  • “The attachment and meaning of a green place can encourage individuals to actively protect and engage in pro-environmental behavior.”
  • “Active outdoor involvement by individuals and groups provides many benefits: a sense of accomplishment, community development, and strengthened intergenerational ties.”
  • “Greener neighborhoods, especially those with green common areas, encourage social bonding between neighbors and improve the social setting.”
  • “Research reveals that people feel more at ease in the type of landscape they grew up in, and that individuals experience a reduction in stress when they recreate in settings where they feel most at home.”

To learn more and access these research articles, visit University of Washington’s Urban Forestry/Urban Greening Research page.

Not only may a walk in the woods help alleviate some holiday stress, but you may find yourself given an opportunity to connect with loved ones in a way that sometimes the dinner table does not offer. At the same time, this could be a prime opportunity to recruit new members or volunteers to your friends group! Family doesn’t live in town? End of year giving is a common practice among many people, so if your friends groups has a mechanism for donations, don’t be shy in reminding people of that opportunity as well.

Activities to enjoy with your group

Hover or click on pictures below

Attend a Candlelight Event

Get on Skis

Try Snowshoeing

Blaze New Trails

Join a Naturalist Activity

Don’t forget to educate your friends and family about how to dress and prepare for outdoor winter fun. Here are some quick tips to ensure everyone comes home smiling:

winter dress infographic

Thanks again for all you do to support Minnesota State Parks and Trails and we hope you have a joyous and nature-filled holiday season. As always, if you have questions or topics you would like me to cover in this section, don’t hesitate to contact me at 651-259-5609 or

Happy trails,


Partnership Development Consultant

Minnesota DNR, Parks & Trails Division

About Ashley Pethan