So, I admit my belt is the teeniest bit tighter than it was before the holidays. That's the hard part.

The easy part was making a trip to Fox Island County Park in southwest Allen County to take care of the problem.

 

Fox Island is a 605-acre park that can be accessed from Smith Road. Within the park, 270 acres are dedicated as a State Nature Preserve.

Something that sets the park apart from other Allen County's other parks is the section of sand dunes. They stand 40-foot tall. Being that there are no coastal bodies of water in the immediate area, the sand dunes are a unique feature for northeast Indiana.

 

But as this is not the season for playing in the sand, I'm looking for other forms of exercise.

I'm in luck at Fox Island, which rents equipment for cross country skiing. 

 

I can guarantee there's no more invigorating exercise than cross-country skiing in the winter. My family did this a couple of years ago on a Saturday morning and we were pleasantly surprised at how adept some of us -- namely me -- could ski.

There needs to be at least four inches of snow to rent equipment, but if someone has their own, they can take it to the park and ski at their leisure.

Before you go, make sure you check out weather conditions at the park.

On days like now when the white stuff is not covering the ground, I'm more inclined to don some heavy weather boots and trek across the park's trails. There are some paved roads through the park, but the trails are mostly a natural surface.

The park's four trails vary in length from one-half mile to 1.5 miles. They are level and interconnected. I try to stay quiet to spy a deer throughout the park, but so far no luck. It's early in the season so I'll try again on my next visit.


The bird observation building is a fun place to observe nature. Volunteers staff the area and keep the feeders stocked. They had to help me identify certain species of birds, but on my next trip, I'll be more aware.

My husband wanted to try ice fishing, but unfortunately, Bowman Lake, a 6.5-acre pond at the park, is only 18 inches deep. Its shallowness keeps it from getting cold enough to freeze.

The park's nature center is a good place to duck into when the cold pervades your senses. There we saw geological exhibits of the area, including arrowheads found in the area. The park's naturalist helped us with questions about the exhibits.

The fireplace inside the nature center would be a great place to read a book. I might even take a picnic lunch and enjoy snacking in front of a comfy fire one afternoon in January.

The nature center is handicap accessible and a 2-story treehouse is available for kids to climb. The gift shop might provide the perfect gift for a friend.

Fox Island County Park observes winter hours:
9am-6pm every day of the week
Entrance fee: $2/ per vehicle
If no one is available at the gate house, pay on the honor system at the metal post.

Allen County Parks Administrative Offices
Fox Island County Park Nature Center
7324 Yohne Road
Fort Wayne IN 46809
Phone: 260.449.3180