Give to the Max & Making Snow

Give to the Max on November 16!

camps.jpgPlease consider supporting our Three Rivers Foundation on Give to the Max Day, November 16. You also have the option of scheduling your gift now, and it will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $11,000. All proceeds support two of our important outreach programs:

Adapted Programs. These programs provide opportunities for people with disabilities, including veterans, children, and seniors, to participate in outdoor programs like kayaking, mountain biking, archery, skiing, photography and more.
Explorer Camps. These outdoor day camps take place in communities where they are needed most. Children in these underserved neighborhoods are introduced to life-enriching outdoor activities like fishing, biking, canoeing, kayaking and nature exploration.

  

If it’s November, we're making snow!snow.jpg

The Three Rivers ski season is officially underway! Signup today for our popular Snowsports Academy, and start waxing your bases. Hyland and Elm Creek offer guaranteed snow, so be sure to check our Three Rivers website for classes, hours and conditions.

Nordic_Ski_Opener_-_kids_photo_0.jpgEmbrace winter by celebrating cross-country skiing at the inaugural Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener on Saturday, December 9 at Elm Creek! Skiers of all abilities and ages are invited to kick off winter with free skiing, rental equipment and mini lessons. Ski on your own or participate in the numerous Rennet Ski Tour events.

  

“Folkways of the Holidays” at The Landing

Landing_-_Folkways.jpgDiscover the holiday traditions of 19th-century Minnesotans at The Landing in December! You can watch folk art performances, ride a horse-drawn trolley, and tour homes with culturally-distinct decorations and crafts. You can also check out our latest restoration – the Oliver Faribault House, which is a distinctively French-Canadian log home, like the abodes of my Gunyou ancestors! Here’s a fascinating description of the five year process we went through to restore this landmark.

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Fitness, Art & Outreach

With Fall in the air, check out this link for a sample of our Fitness, Art & Outreach activities as we wrap-up Summer.

fitness.jpgMinnesota’s First Challenge Fitness Course.  We had perfect weather and a great turnout for the fitness2.jpggrand opening of a new fitness challenge course and fully-inclusive adaptive play area at Schaper Park in Golden Valley. This unique facility was the latest in our partnerships with cities to expand service in first tier suburbs. Here’s the standard ribbon-cutting pic with all the appropriate officials - and most important, the kids who couldn’t wait to try out the new challenge course!

 

art.jpgLayered Lines Gathering Space at Eagle Lake.  Three Rivers recently acknowledged the generosity of Tim Huebsch who donated funds for a new gathering space at “the Point” in Eagle Lake Regional Park on the border of Plymouth and Maple Grove. The piece, named Layered Lines and designed by Twin Cities artist Korrin Lohmann, aims to promote community and gathering.

 

outreach.jpgCommunity Engagement Update. Be sure to check out this link for an update of our outreach efforts to connect more people of all ages with our parks and trails. So far this year, we have reached nearly 30,000 people through 500+ programs, activities and events focused on 11 first tier communities: Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, New Hope, Richfield, Robbinsdale and St. Louis Park. Here’s some of what we’ve been doing:outreach2.jpg

  • Parks on the Go van – playground groups, mobile home communities, adult-based programs, community festivals and events, etc.
  • Explorer Camps – Nineteen camps took place in 2017, up from 9 in 2016. The number of participants grew from 75 to 283+ in one year. Senior Explorer Series programs are planned for this fall, as well.
  • Partner Programming – libraries, schools, senior living facilities, race and cultural-based affinity groups, food shelves, watershed districts, etc.
  • Bike Fleet – Three Rivers and partner programming made bike programs and biking lessons available to 1,000 youth and adults.
  • Kids Task Force – Engaged 3rd graders from a Brooklyn Park elementary school in the design process for the new French play area. The same kids will be involved from concept to grand opening and are learning about the many jobs available in Three Rivers.
  • Camping Gear Library – Launched a program to make camping gear, training and education available to groups at no cost. 
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Environmental research

An important aspect of the Three Rivers mission is to advance scientific research into various environmental issues. Here are just two examples of our commitment to responsibly manage the natural resources entrusted to us:

 

Restoration of native lake plants

xxxxx__2008.jpgThree Rivers is participating in the experimental transplantation of native aquatic vegetation in cooperation with the Minnesota DNR. Native vegetation is being harvested from lakes with no invasive species to lakes which would benefit from more native plants. Plantings recently took place in Hyland Lake and Lake Rebecca, which had been previously treated to reduce the amount of invasive curly-leaf pondweed in order to improve water quality and native plant regrowth.

To establish the most effect method of transplantation, we are testing two methods: one where the plants are tied to burlap and the other where the plants are planted individually. The species we are introducing include: flat-stem pondweed, large-leaf pondweed, water stargrass and fern-leaf pondweed. Our Water Resources team will continue to monitor the sites to determine the success of the plantings.

 

Lake turtle research

Medicine_Lake_turtles_1471989581567_5775218_ver1.0.jpgCheck out this KARE11 story on our lake turtle research! For the past two years, Three Rivers and the University of St Thomas have been following three types of lake turtles to better understand their habits: spiny softshells, painted and snappers. Among our initial findings: spiny softshell turtles are the most active, sometimes moving across the entire lake. Whereas the painted and snappers are found throughout the lake, individual turtles might only use an area the size of an average house.

Knowing these kinds of characteristics is important, because it may help determine where they nest in the early summer and lay their eggs. With changing ecologies, there isn't as much sand as there used to be, so there are concentrations of turtles nesting in certain areas, which have a good protected sand beaches.

To conduct the research, each turtle is equipped with a radio transmitter so they can be tracked. Funding for the research comes from the Minnesota Environment and the Natural Resources Trust Fund, and what we learn will be used to educate the public on such issues as how to protect nests or how homeowners can work on their shoreline to make it helpful to the wildlife in the area. Any improvements to the turtles’ habitats will help ensure healthy populations in the future. 

 

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Summer 2017 Update!

trail.jpgBasset Creek Trail is finished!

Our Bassett Creek Trail is now complete from French Park to Golden Valley! In addition to French Park, the trail connects with our Medicine Lake Trail, local schools and businesses, Northwood Park in New Hope and Valley Place and Bassett Creek parks in Crystal. Here’s a link for more information.

 

community.jpgJust one week of community engagement!

In just one week of community engagement, Three Rivers teams visited six Brooklyn Park Mobile Recreation locations on Monday and Thursday, a Brooklyn Center Community Center camp on Tuesday, a St. Louis Park Playground program on Thursday, and three Bloomington Park Playground sites on Friday! On Wednesday, we also had one team working with the Explorer Camp students in Edina, and another crew leading a puppetry program with students at a Dayton mobile home community serving nearly 250 families! On Thursday night, our Parks On the Go van and bike riders participated in the Earle Brown Days Parade in Brooklyn Center, at Hyland on Sunday for a 5K hosted by our partners in the Kenyan immigrant community! Here’s a link for more information.

  

owl.jpgA raptor success story

Click on this link to read a wonderful story resulting from our long partnership with The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. This success story involves Three Rivers providing a barred owl nesting location where young fledgling owls could transition to independence and still receive parental care.

 

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Down on the Farm!

I grew up with a host of farming relatives, but most kids now-a-days have no exposure to farm life. Check out this great video about Three Rivers' working farm at Gale Woods, and the many educational activities we have available for families and groups.

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Injured Vets Kayaking Partnership

Three Rivers is a proud partner with the City of Edina and Team River Runner to provide kayaking opportunities for injured veterans - a program that is nationally recognized! Here's a link to an article in the StarTribune, and be sure to check out this great video!

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We Can Ride Partnership

ows_149769952064505.jpgThree Rivers is very pleased we could help the We Can Ride program continue its excellent work! After four decades in Minnetonka, the therapeutic horseback riding program has been resettled into new stables at our Baker Park Reserve.

We Can Ride serves about 250 people with disabilities or special needs — from autism or learning disabilities to multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. When faced with the need to relocate from Hennepin County land, Three Rivers invited the program to use our vacant stables, riding trails and indoor arena, which can be used for year-round events. Check this link for the StarTribune story on our new partnership. 

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Designed by Kids, for Kids!

061dfgh716_Newsworthy.jpgKids played central role in our public engagement effort to plan for replacement of the French Creative Play Area. Our goal was to replace the old play area with a new facility that meets the needs of our diverse customer base, and since our primary customer group is kids, that's where we started the process - talking to kids of all ages!

Three Rivers places a high priority on transparency and outreach, so we also talked to parents, grandparents, teachers, field trip students 061716_Newsworthy.jpgand summer camp participants. In addition to engaging the general public, we invited a group of 20 kids to be part of the design team throughout the two-year implementation process. This “Kid Task Force” was a third grade class from Park Brook Elementary School in Brooklyn Park. The school principal was very supportive, and committed to give the kids this unique opportunity, so our Three Rivers design team gained much-needed insight from the kids’ perspective.

Children who were part of our “Kid Task Force” had the opportunity to: (1) participate in the design process, which began on a 0617mnb16_Newsworthy.jpgfield trip to the existing play area, (2) attend various workshops, including a construction site visit in 2017, (3) learn about various careers from designers, project managers, parks and recreation, community engagement, and (4) celebrate the grand opening with us in 2018. Members of the Kid Task Force will be in fifth grade by the completion of the project, and we hope to all be able to look back on this experience and say that this was truly a creative play area designed by kids, for kids!

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Check out one of our Signature Races!

Three Rivers now hosts Signature Races throughout the year, so be sure to check one out! Most recently, Lake Rebecca Park Reserve hosted the 26th annual Allina Health Trail Mix Race. With perfect spring weather, a beautiful park and historic trail run, participation continues to grow. Two new races were added this year to provide more options: 12.5K Solo and 25K Team of Two races joined the long-standing 50K Ultra, 25K Solo and 50K Team of Four races. Our next Signature Race will be the Big Woods Classic mountain bike race at Lake Rebecca on July 15. Check out this cool video! 

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Our U of M partnership is expanding

040717_TRPD_update.jpgOur Outdoor Recreation School works with more than 200 schools, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to introduce new park users to active, outdoor, healthy lifestyles. As one growing example, Three Rivers' partnership with the University of Minnesota offers J-term sessions and other programs for environmental education and recreation majors from around the world! Be sure to check this link for more information about these and other programs available through the U of M!

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair