Never ending winter impacting parks department

By John Holler Correspondent

It has been called the “Winter That Wouldn’t End” – a recordsetting snow-dropper in March and April. For what has been an odd winter to begin with, it has created some unusual circumstances for the Wright County Parks & Recreation Department.

The combination of very little snow early and a ton of snow late in the season hampered the No. 1 winter activity for parks & rec – cross country skiing. Parks & Recreation Director Marc Mattice said that combination was a problem, despite very good usage and equipment rental numbers when the courses were open and groomed.

“Actually, if you think back, in December and January and into February, we had very little snow,” Mattice said. “Our biggest snowfalls came at the end of February, early March and in April. Our cross country skiing season was very short. In the middle of March, we typically quit grooming the trails. We tried to groom them, but it got warm and it melted down; the snow we got in April we didn’t go out groom because, by that time, we had started planning for the spring work we need to do. The last couple of snowfalls, we didn’t actually groom because our equipment had been taken apart.”

The problem with the transition from winter to spring is that the late snow significantly impacted what Mattice’s crew typically does in mid-to-late April – especially the tasks deemed the most important during the change of seasons.

“Everything has been pushed back,” Mattice said. “The biggest one is not being able to get fishing piers into the lakes. We’ve also had to delay grading some parking lots and getting our buildings and our bathrooms all set up. Usually by the first weekend in May, we definitely have all our fishing piers in and our bathrooms up and running. All those things have been on hold.”

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