The 20th Annual Whitewater River Valley Christmas Bird Count will take place this Friday, (January 1st). Participants will explore the area’s winter wonderland on foot for short walks and/or by car as they document wintering birds. Anyone with an interest in birds, regardless of birding experience, is invited to participate.

Counters will meet at the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center in Whitewater State Park starting at 8 am. There will be a fire in the wood stove and hot beverages provided. The feeders at the visitor center will be full of seeds and birds.

Then at 1 pm, get a head start on your New Year’s resolution of staying fit by joining a park naturalist for a First Day Hike. During this family-friendly hike, we’ll explore the park to visit some interesting locations that are off the beaten path.  If there is enough snow, we will snowshoe. You can bring your own snowshoes or borrow a pair from the park.

For more information on these activities or to check on cancellations due to hazardous weather conditions, call the park during weekday business hours at 507-932-3007 ext 226 or email Sara Holger at These activities are free, but Minnesota State Park permits are required on all vehicles. Daily permits cost $5 and annual permits are $25. Permits can be purchased at the visitor center.