LINCROFT, NJ — Remember when winter was fun? It still is thanks to the Monmouth County Park System!  There’s plenty to do outside, and the Monmouth County Park System wants area residents to get the most out of the season by sledding, cross-country skiing and ice-skating.  Nothing beats the exhilaration of flying down the sledding hill in Holmdel Park, Holmdel, on a winter’s afternoon. Open for sledding when there are two or more inches of snow, hours for this favorite spot are 8am-7pm Sunday through Thursday and 8am-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Cross-country skiers will be thrilled to learn that the Park System plans to groom trails for them in Thompson Park, Lincroft, and at Charleston Springs Golf Course, Millstone.   Prefer the path less taken?  Not a problem,  cross-country skiing is also allowed on the trails and fields of Clayton Park, Upper Freehold; Hartshorne Woods Park, Middletown; Holmdel Park, Holmdel; Huber Woods Park, Middletown; Manasquan Reservoir, Howell; Shark River Park, Neptune; Tatum Park, Middletown; and Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold.  Please note that the Park System’s Deer Management Program will be underway until February 18 at several of these sites.  (For complete details, please visit our website at www.monmouthcountyparks.com.)   Hours for cross-country skiing are the same as regular park hours: 8am-dusk. 

Sounds great but not sure about investing in the equipment? Head over to Thompson Park, Lincroft. Cross-country ski and snowshoe equipment is available for rent at the new Thompson Park Ski Hut, located next to the Three Barns Parking Area. Rentals are available daily from 9am-4pm on a first come, first served basis. Feel free to call ahead and check for size availability as sizes are limited. Cross-country ski equipment can be held for a maximum of two hours. Equipment rented after 3pm must be returned by 12noon the next day. The cost is $15 to rent ski equipment and $10 for snowshoes.  For more information, please call (732) 842-4000, ext. 4312.

The fun really starts after a week or so of freezing temperatures and Holmdel, Shark River and Turkey Swamp Parks post their “Skating Today” signs.  Hours for ice skating are 8am to 7pm Sunday through Thursday and 8am to 9pm Fridays and Saturdays.  Ice skating isn’t the only fun to be had!  Manasquan Reservoir, Thompson Park and Turkey Swamp Park open for ice fishing in designated areas. Always check with park rangers before heading onto the ice.

Please be aware that these activities are offered only when conditions permit. Be sure to visit our website www.monmouthcountyparks.com for the latest updates on conditions. To learn more about these Park System activities, please visit our website or call (732) 842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the Park System TTY/TDD number is 711. The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s Open Space, Parks and Recreation agency.