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 For Immediate Release 

January 30, 2020 

FROM: Eau Claire Wintermission Team 

TO: Eau Claire area media 

Wintermission Eau Claire announces next pilot project: Community Winter Gear Share 

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – Wintermission Eau Claire is excited to announce the initiation of the Community Winter Gear Share program in collaboration with area organizations including Eau Claire L.E. Phillips Library, Altoona Public Library, City of Eau Claire Parks and Recreation, and OutdoorMore, Inc. The new program will enable Wisconsin residents to check out winter gear such as snowshoes and ice fishing kits from both the Eau Claire and Altoona Libraries. People will also be able to check out sleds, hockey equipment, snowshoes, and other winter recreation items at Pinehurst Park in Eau Claire. 

Eau Claire City Council member Emily Berge has been involved with the Wintermission project since the grant writing team came together over a year ago, and believes the gear share program will help more families celebrate our snowy season. 

“Often a barrier to enjoying winter is the lack of winter gear, whether due to the cost of gear or not knowing what gear to buy,” Berge said. “By injecting winter gear into our local libraries’ circulation systems and having it onsite at a prominent winter park, this project will make winter gear more accessible to Chippewa Valley residents.” 

UW-Eau Claire government and community relations specialist and Wintermission spokesperson Jake Wrasse noted the gear share program is a direct response to feedback gained during Wintermission Eau Claire’s engagement phase. “While opportunities to enjoy the outdoors abound in winter, they may be cost-prohibitive to first-time winter recreants or longtime-residents looking to try a new activity. This is one way for families and individuals to create winter memories without breaking the bank.” 

The Winter Gear Share Program joins the established Winter Recreation Loop in downtown Eau Claire as another Wintermission pilot project. The Wintermission Eau Claire team has been executing pilot projects to reduce social isolation and increase physical activity by building on Eau Claire’s unique winter climate and culture by addressing barriers that prevent people from getting the most out of the season. 

For additional comment from Wintermission Eau Claire, please contact Emily Berge, Eau Claire City Council member and licensed professional counselor, at 715-575-9795 or, or Roy Atkinson, Management Analyst with the City of Altoona, at 715-839-6092 or

Wintermission Eau Claire is a groundbreaking program to reduce social isolation and support outdoor physical activity in winter. Eau Claire is one of three Wintermission cities and will help set new standards for winter friendly cities in the United States by developing a unique winter city strategy. Wintermission is led by 8 80 Cities, a non-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada and is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Global Ideas Fund at CAF America. The Eau Claire Wintermission core team involves participation from the Cities of Eau Claire and Altoona, the Eau Claire City County Health Department, UW-Eau Claire, Visit Eau Claire, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.