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Winter wonder at Kennedy

Winter fest has it all — including the Abominable Snowman

December 14, 2008
By HANS MADSEN, Messenger staff writer

When a person reported seeing an Abominable Snowman in John F. Kennedy Park recently the staff were a bit skeptical.

Then they found the tracks, about 1 foot wide and 2 feet long. They are bigger than anyone's boots by a good margin.

Matt Cosgrove, director of Webster County Conservation, explained that they did try to locate it,

Article Photos

Webster County Conservation/DNR naturalist Erin Ford points out tracks left by the Abominable Snowman in Kennedy Park Saturday evening during a search for the elusive furry creature that was part of the Winter Festival.

"We had a tracking expedition," he explained. "We baited it, too."

The staff came up empty handed, no hair, no food wrappers - nothing.

He at least picks up after himself.

Saturday evening, during the Winter Festival, the public had a chance to search for the elusive critter too, one of many activities to take part during the celebration of outdoor winter activities.

Mike Landwehr brought his children Isaac, 5, Abby, 7, and Hannah, 3, to the event.

They spent the first part of the evening on the ice-skating area cleared by the park staff.

"I haven't skated since about fifth grade," Landwehr said. "This could get ugly."

The children seemed to be picking it up though and when they were done, Landwehr reported that he didn't fall.

Lauren Mitchell, of Duncombe, traded her slippers for a pair of ski boots to try her hand - and legs - at cross-country skiing.

She was being coached by Aaron Hamilton, of Thor, whose own experience includes plenty of time on the slopes in Colorado.

"She's going to have me catch her if she falls," he said.

After their expedition on the luminary lit trail, they planned on doing some ice skating.

For those not wishing to go out in the cold, indoor activities included making Christmas tree ornaments from slices of wood, coloring activities and enjoying warm cider, cookies and, of course, hot cocoa.

There were also hayrack rides to tour the Lights at Kennedy display.

Setting out with flashlights, Webster County Conservation/DNR Naturalist Erin Ford led the expedition to find the Abominable Snowman.

Members of the expedition were armed with a printed guide to animal tracks.

The group quickly located rabbit tracks, squirrel tracks and even the tiny prints left by a mouse.

Then they struck pay snow.

"Oohhs," and "ahhhs," and a few "wows," echoed through the woods as the first Abominable Snowmen tracks were found.

But are they real?

Ford explained that a park employee had made the tracks using a pair of plywood cutouts strapped to their feet. It added an element of excitement to an environmental lesson and people on the tour enjoyed it.

Now about those tracks on the other side of the lake... hmmm.

Contact Hans Madsen at (515) 573-2141 or



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