Back to Romance: A Candlelight Hike in Bong State Recreation Area

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Is your loved one also your hiking buddy? Why not enjoy Valentine’s Day together by doing something you both love? Even if you’re not an outdoorsy couple, the “Return to Love” event at Richard Bong State Recreation Area is a great way to spend the holidays.

“Since 1998, Bong Naturalists Association hosted a ‘Return to Love’ event,” says Rebecca McCarthy, an employee of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. However, due to COVID-19, the event will be slightly different this year. In years past, the event featured live music and an indoor rally.

However, McCarthy said that “we need to adjust the event to be 100% outdoors to be in line with Wisconsin DNR COVID-19 Policies. Although we don’t have live musicians this year, we will have the candle light hike, 1 or 2 hot fires, individually wrapped desserts and hot cider or hot chocolate for attendees.

This year’s slightly different Candlelight Hike will take place on February 12 from 6-8 p.m. Upon arrival at Richard Bong State Recreation Area, 26313 Burlington Road, participants will meet at Hut 1.

Back to novel

Keep the fire burning in your relationship by taking a candlelit hike and then relaxing by a warm fire. Who wouldn’t want to snuggle up next to their valentine? McCarthy recommends walking for this hike, but participants are encouraged to bring their own snowshoes if they wish.

Also, the park is working on a snowshoe rental program, but they likely won’t be available for the candlelight hike. the Bong Naturalists Association Facebook Page will share snowshoe rental details when they are ready for public use.

No dogs will be allowed during this event. People are encouraged to return to the park another time to explore with their furry friends. Also, cross-country skis are not recommended for the event. “We have some areas of the park that have cross country ski trails,” McCarthy said, “although we don’t maintain the trails. Cross country skis are not recommended for the candlelit hiking area, as it is this is primarily a walking trail.”

Romantic night under the stars

Although you don’t have to register for the event, it’s appreciated. You can pre-register by calling 262-878-5609 and leaving a message.

Can’t find a babysitter for a date? Bring the kids for this event. It’s a family atmosphere that appeals to everyone. No matter your age, it’s going to be a fun night under the stars.

“We believe the intimacy and romance can be replicated on a candlelit evening stroll with a nice warm fire to cuddle your loved ones,” McCarthy said. “Walking the path by candlelight or sitting by the fire, you can create intimate memories in the park with your significant other or family.”

About Richard Bong State Recreation Area

The Richard Bong State Recreation Area offers something for everyone. Camping, hiking and picnic areas with shelters are just the start. The Molinaro Visitor Center offers hands-on exhibits to learn about the nature of the park as well as the history of the park. A special use area is available by reservation for hot air balloons, hang gliders, rockets, model airplanes and more, as well as other activities like dog training, dirt bikes and horses on trails. They also offer hunting in season, on designated areas. For more information, visit them online or call 262-878-5600.


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