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Wooden Snowshoes Are the Way to Go | Environment

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Wooden Snowshoes Are the Way to Go
Wooden Snowshoes Are the Way to Go

Snow! Tifft’s shimmering white landscape is testament to this winter’s atonement for last year’s dearth. The frosted blanket upon the ground provides a stunning backdrop for viewing Tifft’s winter wildlife. Northern Cardinals appear evermore brilliantly red and the delicate branches of Tifft’s sleeping Cottonwood Trees contrast against the snow like a fine pen and ink masterpiece.

What better way to witness this beauty and explore the winter wilds than by traditional snowshoe? This mode of travel has been in existence for thousands of years. You and your family can also traverse the snowy terrain with ease using the traditional wooden snowshoes once adorned by Native Americans and early American settlers. Tifft is one of few venues in the region to offer this unique experience.  Tifft’s traditional snowshoe rentals are available to the public once six inches of snow accumulate on the trails. These five miles of wonderuos trails meander through forest, grassland, and an unique cattail marsh. Snowshoe rentals are $5 per hour for adults and $3 per hour for children under 45lbs. Rentals are only an additional $2 if you are attending one of Tifft’s many scheduled programs this winter. Please call ahead to check for availability and visit www.sciencebuff.org for an upcoming January and February program listing.

The traditional snowshoes we are familiar with originated in North American. Native Americans developed different styles for different terrain but all consisted of a single strip of wood, typically ash, shaped into a curve with rawhide webbing woven within. The snowshoe’s main purpose is to evenly distribute the individual’s weight to permit walking in the snow without sinking. The “Bear Paw” snowshoe is a rounder shape ideal for maneuvering in tight spaces and hilly terrain. The “Michigan” snowshoe is an elongated shape with a “tail” at the back and is ideal for deep snow in open places. The “tail” acts as counterweight that brings the toe of the shoe up for easy walking. Tifft stocks both of these styles as well as children’s snowshoes so the whole family can join in the fun!

This holiday season, bring family and friends out for a winter recreational experience like no other! Weather permitting, Tifft’s traditional snowshoes will be available for rent during the Visitor Center’s open hours and for program participants. Upcoming programs are listed below. Snowshoeing tip - Be sure to dress for the weather by wearing warm and waterproof apparel such as sturdy boots. Trendy and fashionable footwear typically doesn't cut it when walking in the white stuff. After your walk be sure to stop in the Visitor Center to warm up with a hot beverage and a cozy seat by the fireplace. Tifft is THE place to enjoy the Western New York winter! We look forward to you joining us as we celebrate the season! 



National Winter Trails Day Celebration - Saturday, January 12, 10AM-1PM       FREE

Come take a mini-snowshoe hike or give cross-country skis a try and experience easy and fun winter activities! Snowshoe rentals will also be available at a reduced fee for those wishing to snowshoe longer on their own. Hot drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. Snow sports are weather permitting. Skis provided by Gear for Adventure. FREE. Pre-registration highly encouraged. Please call 825-6397 for more information. 


Little Tykes Snowshoe Stroll - Monday, January 14, 10-11 AM

Snowshoes aren’t just for the young at heart, so bring your little one ages 2-5 to try out snowshoeing in our bear-claw youth snowshoes. Caregivers are welcome to give them a try too! Snowshoeing is weather permitting. Non-Members: $6 per child and adult, $3 additional children with the same adult. Buffalo Museum of Science Members Save 10%. Pre-registration required. Please call 825-6397. 


Family Snowshoe Hike - Saturday, January 19, 3-4:30 PM

Bring the family to stretch their legs and see what Tifft is like in the wintertime. We’ll end by having a warm drink in Tifft’s log cabin. Snowshoeing is weather permitting. Non-Members: $7. Buffalo Museum of Science Members Save 10%. Pre-registration required. Please call 825-6397. 

Tifft Nature Preserve 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd Buffalo, NY 14203  716-825-6397  www.sciencebuff.org


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