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Is your special someone also your hiking buddy? Why not enjoy Valentine’s day together doing something you both love? Even if you aren’t an outdoorsy couple, the “Return to Romance” event at Richard Bong State Recreation Area is a great way to spend the holiday.

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

However, McCarthy stated that “we need to adjust the event to be 100% outdoors to be compliant with Wisconsin DNR COVID-19 policies. Although we will not have live musicians playing this year, we will have the candlelight hike, 1 or 2 warm fires, individually wrapped desserts, and hot cider or hot cocoa for attendees.”

This year’s slightly different candlelight hike will be held on Feb. 12 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Upon arrival at the Richard Bong State Recreation Area, 26313 Burlington Road, attendees will meet at shelter 1.

Return to Romance

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

Additionally, the park is working on a snowshoe rental program, however, they will most likely not be available for the candlelight hike. The Bong Naturalist Association Facebook page will share the details on snowshoe rentals when they are ready for public use.

There will be no dogs allowed at this event. People are welcome to come back to the park another time to explore with their furry friends. In addition, cross-country skis are not recommended for the event. “We do have some areas of the park that have cross country ski trails,” said McCarthy, “though we do not maintain the tracks. Cross country skis are not recommended for the candlelight hike area, as it is primarily a walking path.”

Romantic Night Under the Stars

While you do not have to register for the event, it is appreciated. You can preregister by calling 262-878-5609 and leaving a message.

Can’t find a babysitter for date night? Bring the kids along for this event. It’s a family-friendly atmosphere that’s fun for everyone. No matter your age, this will be a fun night under the stars.

“We believe the intimacy and romance can be replicated in an evening candlelight walk with a nice, warm fire to snuggle your loved ones,” Mccarthy said. “By walking the candlelight path or sitting by the fire, you can create intimate memories in the park with your significant other or your family.”

About Richard Bong State Recreation Area

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


Looking for something to do?

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