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Weber State University’s Outdoor Program took students, faculty and the community of Ogden on a full moon snowshoe hike Jan. 18 as part of their Winter Trail Series.

The activity was based at North Fork Park on the Porcupine trail. The program provided equipment, the ride up to the trail-head and hot cocoa to those participating in the event.

“My favorite part about leading trips is the places we get to go and connecting with many different people,” trip leader Kayla Dreher said.

Canyoneering trips are her favorite activity, but she said these full moon snowshoe hikes are a close second.

The hike, although taking place mostly in the dark, had tiki lights guiding the way along the trail. The moon, at its waxing gibbous phase with 90 percent illumination, also provided for a bright night.

North Fork Park is one out of 100 places in the United States that is part of the International Dark Sky Places, a certification given to those who aim to preserve and protect their dark skies at a very high standard.

This natural conservation encourages millions of visitors each year to enjoy the constellations and crisp mountain air.

According to the IDA, North Fork has four qualities that set it apart from other Dark Sky Parks including urban adjacency, a focus on wildlife, an extensive outreach program and public art incorporating dark skies themes.

With these characteristics combined, the park offers a unique dark sky experience for the approximate 2.2 million residents near the Wasatch Front.

The Outdoor Program at WSU offers high quality guided adventures to students and the general public for free. Their main goal with the Winter Trail Series is to allow residents the opportunity to hike in Ogden’s backyard and bring the community together.

“When you are all stuck in the car together, you start to become friends with everybody there,” Dreher said. “No matter where you come from, if you’re an exchange student or if you have lived in Ogden your whole life, we will all talk to each other, and it’s a great interaction that Weber State facilitates.”

The program’s mission is to promote both development and adventure through engaging experiences to help students learn about themselves and work as a team.

Group Exercise Leader Lori Harlin said, “I don’t think people take enough advantage of everything that the Outdoor Program has. Students here are very fortunate to have this program.”

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