Weekend Wilton candlelight snowshoe event became too popular

January 19, 2018 06:14 PM

WILTON -- Margo Olson knew the Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park was going to be big. She expected 400 even 500 people.

Then she put it on Facebook, and intern Erin watched.

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"I was shocked when we hit 1000, but the numbers keep growing and growing," said Erin McCabe. "I was imaging thousands of people in my backyard, I live here on the preserve."

It grew to 7,500 people interested in the event. The power of social media centered on a 2.5 mile luminary lit trail on Scout Road in Wilton.

"It was exciting, then he got a little, like yikes. This is more than we can handle realistically," said Olson, the preserve's executive director.

Olson says there's no road parking and the lots here can only handle a little over a hundred cars. So Olson put out parking pass reservations, and they went quick.

So what's the draw? Margo remembers her first time.

"There was light snow falling, the candles and luminaries. It's kind of a hush because it's night time. It's kind a magical," said Olson.

Olson says luminaries go down every 50 feet. There is a bonfire and hot cocoa. There's a finite amount of snowshoes and skis to rent.

It is only parking that is a problem. McCabe suggested people could carpool or take an Uber or Lyft to be dropped off.

Some suggested that the preserve hold multiple candlelight events. Olson and McCabe are the only employees.  Olson says even with 50 or so volunteers, it's likely too much work to hold another one this year.

For those who can't come. The good news is, the preserve's trails are open 365 days a year. We saw plenty of skiers and snowshoers on the well-packed trails.  There is also a winter fest and snowshoe race on February 10. 


Asa Stackel

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