Mactaquac Provincial Park

Mactaquac Provincial Park offers a sharing program to let people try out equipment for free. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

A sharing program at a New Brunswick provincial park is giving people a new way to experience winter for free. 

Mactaquac Provincial Park is hosting a ski-sharing program where hundreds of cross-country skis, poles, snowshoes and other outdoor gear have been donated with the single goal of getting people out of the house and into the snow.   

"I think it's amazing," said Selena Harris who was trying cross-country skiing for the first time Sunday. "I've been thinking about skiing and I didn't want to invest in it so this is the perfect opportunity to see if we like it, so maybe we'll buy it later. Just trying to find the right size because I'm not sure really what I'm doing, but it's working out well." 

The program has succeeded in bringing out hundreds of people to try the outdoor sports.

Mactaquac Provincial Park

Mactaquac Provincial Park has skies, snowshoes and other outdoor gear for people to use for free. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

"I think it's pretty special," said Lori Estabrooks, another first time skier. "I think it's a great program for people to come out and learn and to just get out and enjoy some activity outside and to get moving is important. So I think it's very generous."  

"I might try the snowshoes. We'll see how this goes first." 

The program, hosted by the Friends of the Mactaquac Park group, is in its second season. Its popularity has exploded in the past several weeks due to the increase of snow and word-of-mouth. 

"People just flock to it," said Mark Dunbar, operator of the MOCO restaurant in the Mactaquac Park Lodge. "Locals for sure, but what we're starting to see now though is more and more individuals from outside the local area that are starting to take advantage of it now that the word is getting out that these skies and snowshoes are available."  

Anyone is welcome to go and borrow gear for the day, free of charge, on the one condition that they bring it back before sundown. 

The sharing program will remain in place at the park for as long as there is snow on the ground.