Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tough Decision for Program Coordinators

We hope we saved you from this view of the road today!
We called off our winter festival scheduled for today, with deep regrets, due to a difficult weather forecast of afternoon rain and sleet. Much goes into such a decision. There are many factors, including the excruciating variability of the weather forecasts and their accuracy.

Dunn Park is a winter wonderland, carved out by bucket loader, snow blowers, and shoveling, thanks to DCR's commitment to the event and hours of dedicated work by staff. We were working to the last minute to have the park accessible for winter recreation activities. Tom McCarthy, our Universal Access Program Director, held tightly to a vision of holding the event right up until noon on Friday. We hated to think about cancelling an event that has been exceptionally popular in past years and has attracted many phone calls and inquiries in the last few weeks.

With the possibility of  heavy wet snow, sleet, and freezing rain, we had concerns about the event becoming uncomfortable for everyone, especially more vulnerable or seated participants. Our ultimate concern was safe driving for everyone at the end of a long day. It is always tough for those who coordinate outdoor programs to grapple with such decisions. We feel this is our best event of the year. It has always been a magical experience for everyone who comes. We hated to do it. We weren't even sure it was the right decision yesterday, since the reality can be different from the forecast.

When I saw a few peeks of sun and blue sky this morning, I had my doubts about our decision. This afternoon, when the rain and sleet rolling in, I felt a whole lot better about it, though still disappointed. We hope everyone who had planned to come got news of the cancellation, either by direct phone call (if we knew you were coming), email, state radio, word of mouth, or by checking our message machines.

The sun will shine tomorrow for our program at the Weston Ski Track, which includes cross country skiing, sit skiing, snowshoeing, and kicksledding. We also encourage anyone interested in downhill skiing to check out the Adaptive Ski Program at Wachusett Mountain. Whether you come to a program or not to explore adaptive winter recreation, I hope you are finding enjoyment in the beauty of winter despite its numerous challenges this year!


Oatie - IWillSkate on Ice said...

Dear Marcy,

Sorry to see that your festival was cancelled, but I can see why. I love the photo at the top of your blog page.



Phil Dzialo said...

It's a shame because it was always such an exciting and well attended event...all we had was rain and now bare ground on the cape...perhaps a change of venue in the future?