Minnesota DNR: Volunteer this winter at a Candlelight Event

Join the Minnesota DNR in creating a magical night of cross country skiing, snowshoeing or hiking on trails lit by the warm glow of candles at one of the Minnesota State Parks listed below!

At most events, volunteers are needed to help set out candles, light them, ski or hike the trails to relight them, serve refreshments, oversee a bonfire, and pick up the candles again at the end of the evening along with other cleanup from the event.

Volunteer for the entire evening or just a part of it! Training will be provided. Older kids are welcome to volunteer with parents – families will work together. These would be great group or club activities!

Volunteers must be comfortable working in the outdoor environment, i.e. being physically able, and wearing warm winter clothing as needed. Bring skis, boots or snowshoes (none will be available, unless noted) – you don’t need to be an expert, but these are needed to travel on the trails. Backpacks are also helpful for carrying candle materials.

For more information on how you can get involved, contact the DNR staff person listed below:
Candlelight Ski/Snowshoe Event at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
Saturday, February 1
4:30 – 9:30 PM

  • 15 volunteers needed (Snowshoes are available to rent)
  • Directions to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park: Take I-35 to State Highway 19 east into Northfield. Go south on State Highway 3, east on State Highway 246, then turn right onto County Road 29.  Address: 9700 170 Street East, Nerstrand, MN 55053
  • Contact Elaine Feikema, Park Manager, 507-333-4840 or elaine.feikema@state.mn.us

Gateway State Trail 3rd Annual Candlelight Walk Event
Saturday, February 8
3 – 9 PM

  • 10 volunteers needed (1 mile trail will be lit) 
  • Directions; The event will begin in Maplewood at the intersection of White Bear Avenue and the Gateway State Trail near the Maplewood Community Center.  
  • Contact Rachel Hintzman, Gateway State Trail, St Paul, 651-259-5875 or Rachel.Hintzman@state.mn.us 

Rice Lake State Park Candlelight Ski/Hike/Snowshoe Event
Saturday, February 8
3 – 10 PM

  • 10 volunteers needed (2 miles of trail will be lit) 
  • Directions: Rice Lake State Park is located at 8485 Rose Street, Owatonna, MN 55060, just 7 miles east of Owatonna. From Hwy 35, take exit 42A. Follow the signs to Rose Street. Go east on Rose Street to the park. 
  • Contact Sandi Gatlin, Park Technician, 507-455-5871 or sandra.gatlin@state.mn.us 

Gooseberry Falls Candlelight Ski
Saturday, February 15
2 – 10 PM

  • 40 volunteers needed (volunteer pot-luck at the Visitor Center after set-up) 
  • Directions: Gooseberry Falls State Park is located at 3206 Hwy 61, Two Harbors, MN 55616, about 13 miles northeast of Two Harbors on MN Hwy 61. 
  • Contact Guy Lunz, Assistant Park Manager, Gooseberry Falls State Park, 218-834-3855 Ext 226 or guy.lunz@state.mn.us  

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Candlelight Snowshoe & Hike
Saturday, February 22
3:30 – 10 PM

  • 20 volunteers needed (beginner and expert trails) 
  • Directions: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is located at 3755 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors, MN 55616, about 20 miles northeast of Two Harbors on MN Hwy 61.
  • Contact Guy Lunz, Assistant Park Manager, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, 218-834-3855 ext. 226 or guy.lunz@state.mn.us .