By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
Winter fun abounds in the new year as Clinton County Conservation begins its full schedule of winter events. From skiing and snowshoeing to hunting and snowmobiling, there is something for everyone this holiday season at Rock Creek Marina and Campground.
The fun kicks off with a dark skies winter sports night at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18 Rock Creek. Winter enthusiasts can explore the wilderness of the Upper Mississippi Fish & Wildlife Refuge on a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes provided free, on a first-come, first-served basis. A naturalist will provide night birds and sky presentations are offered. The tourism center is open to participants. A warming fire will be built near the skating rink and hot cider and cocoa provided.
Important ice rescue and cold weather safety information will be shared at a program from 9-11 a.m. Jan. 19. Camanche firemen will demonstrate different scenarios dealing with cold weather rescues right outside of the Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center. There will be discussion of safety techniques while moving on the ice as well as what you should do if someone ever falls through.
A winter sports clinic will also be held a Emma Young Park in Clinton from noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 19.
This is an introduction to the outdoor winter sports of cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. Boots and bindings, skis and poles will be provided for free.
A “Souper” Saturday Speaker will be featured at 1 p.m. Jan. 19 at Rock Creek. Historian George Eaton, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, will lead the program. He has been a historian with the Army Sustainment Command for the past 10 years and will share his personal experiences as well as the history of the Rock Island Arsenal and its connection with the Mississippi River as it celebrates its 150th birthday. On the same day a program on tracks and tracking at 11:30 a.m. will provide information on exploring animal signs, complete with a take-home craft.
Jan. 20 is winter fun day at Rock Creek from noon to 7 p.m. Participants can fight off winter blues with a variety of winter activities. Events include a hike, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, winter concert and much more will be available.
The blustery month wraps up with one of Rock Creek’s biggest events, the Snowmobile Radar Run. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 27, hundreds of snowmobilers will cruise along the backwater ice at Rock Creek Marina, ice permitting. All are welcome to race their snowmobile against a radar gun. A $10 donation is requested per run, with proceeds going to the Spina Bifida Foundation of Iowa. Hot food, drinks and snacks will be available for purchase on site. Spectators are welcome. Bad ice date is Feb. 3. Call Ron Benhart at (319) 784-7087 for more information or visit www.easterniowasoriders.com.
For a full list of events at Rock Creek or more information on Clinton County Conservation events, visit www.clintoncounty-ia.gov/Page/Conservation or call the conservation office at (563) 847-7202.