Frozen Gooseberry Falls is most beautiful it's been in more than 25 years, park manager reports
Park Manager Paul Sundberg, who has lived and worked at Gooseberry Falls State Park since 1983, said he can't remember a winter when the ice formations along the frozen Lower Falls have ever been as beautiful as they are right now.
"Due to the cold temperatures and the rain we got during the Christmas Day storm, thousands of pounds of ice have formed in layers and created thousands of icicles across the entire Lower Falls area, and it's absolutely stunning," Sundberg said. "It's the most beautiful I've seen it in all the years I've been here."
Nearly 1,000 people visited the park to see and photograph this natural wonder on Saturday, Jan. 16. The rest of the holiday weekend was equally busy, with many visitors taking advantage of the mild weather to get out and cross-country ski, snowshoe, hike, and geocache, Sundberg reported.
With a candlelight ski, snowshoe, and walk event scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20, Sundberg hopes the frozen waterfall will stay as beautiful as it is now for the many visitors expected that day.
"If temperatures and conditions stay the same, we'll be in luck," he said, "but if we get too much warmth, it will change considerably." Those who want to be sure to see this spectacular sight should probably plan to visit sooner than later, he advised. Because the trails near the falls are extremely icy, Sundberg also recommends that visitors wear ice cleats (for sale at the park's Nature Store for $9.95) or other slip-resistant footwear and exercise caution in slippery areas.
A Minnesota State Parks vehicle permit ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit) is required to enter any Minnesota state park. For more information about the Feb. 20 candlelight event, and to see photos of the Lower Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park, visit mnstateparks.info.