Guided Snowshoe Walk Offers Outdoor Fun for the Whole Family

For those who’ve wondered how wildlife lives through the winter months, Mississippi Valley Conservancy is offering an opportunity to learn while exploring New Amsterdam Grasslands nature preserve on snowshoes! On the trail, participants will learn about winter wildlife habitats and about how to identify tracks in the snow. Even those who’ve never been on snowshoes, will have a chance to give it a try. It’s easy and fun, and there will even be a limited number of snowshoes available on loan at this winter kick-off to Mississippi Valley Conservancy’s “Linked to the Land” series of outdoor activities. The family-friendly snowshoe walk begins at the trailhead parking area of the New Amsterdam Grasslands nature preserve at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2019.

Staff and volunteers will be available to help with snowshoe basics. Trail guide, Pat Caffrey, will share information about winter wildlife habitats and how to identify wildlife tracks in the snow. Recently named Wisconsin Conservationist of the Year for 2018, Pat Caffrey was a founding member of Mississippi Valley Conservancy, where he continues to serve on its board, today. Participants will be encouraged to look for wildlife tracks and Pat will help identify the tracks and also share information about rare species that inhabit this prairie.

The 310-acre New Amsterdam Grasslands nature preserve provides critical nesting habitat for rare grassland birds, like the state threatened Henslow’s Sparrow and Bell’s Vireo. In addition to protection of wildlife habitat, this property provides a great outdoor recreational resource for residents and visitors to the area. While much of the preserve is off limits to visitors from April through July to protect ground-nesting birds, winter is an ideal time to explore more of the land. The terrain is mostly flat, making it easy for snowshoe walking.

RSVP’s are required to reserve snowshoes for this free event (available on a first-come-first-served reservation basis). Snowshoe size is based on body weight. RSVP’s from all who plan to attend are appreciated. RSVP by email to or call 608-784-3606 ext. 6

WHAT TO WEAR: Wear boots and dress in layers appropriate for winter weather.

DIRECTIONS:  From La Crosse take Hwy 53 North to Holmen and take exit MH. Take a left at stop sign and follow to XX. Take a right on XX and follow to New Amsterdam. Take a right on Old NA and follow for a mile to the trailhead which is on the left. We’ll put on snowshoes in the parking area at the trailhead.


Founded in 1997, Mississippi Valley Conservancy is a nationally accredited regional land trust that has permanently protected more than 20,000 acres of scenic lands in southwestern Wisconsin by providing conservation services to private landowners, businesses and local communities who wish to protect their land from development. The focus of the Conservancy is to conserve the bluffs, forests, prairies, wetlands, streams and farms that enrich our communities, for the health and well-being of current and future generations. For more information, visit

New Amsterdam Grasslands nature preserve

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