Camp leader training & gear library

camping.jpgThree Rivers has kicked off a training and gear lending program to make camping experiences more accessible by equipping educators, youth workers, and community leaders to lead their own overnight trips. In partnership with Wilderness Inquiry, our first hands-on training was held at Baker Park Reserve, and covered trip preparation, camp set up and takedown, kitchen set up and outdoor cooking, fire building, and risk management and safety. Once leaders go through the training, they can reserve a group campsite and camping gear (tents and cooking gear) for groups of up to 50 people. Our first training was attended be leaders from Success Academy, a school within Dar Al-Farooq Community Center in East Bloomington, KWESTRONG Indigenous Women’s Wellness, and Special Olympics. We're planning an additional training with MobileHope Dayton and Outdoor Latino Minnesota.

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Parks on the Go!

outreach.jpgOur Parks on the Go van, so generously provided to us by the Three Rivers Park District Foundation visits more than 200 community events every year, bringing our services to people in their own communities. As a couple of examples from one week, we met bike commuters in Hopkins during Bike to Work Week, and provided them with coffee, bike lights, and information about Three Rivers.

That same week, we met over 300 people at the Spring Splash event in Wayzata, where various organizations came together to provide activities and information related to Wayzata Bay and surrounding communities. This photo shows one of our seasonal staffers assisting children with a crayon rubbing art activity.

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Fishing and archery outreach

imgres.jpgOur Outdoor Recreation School is using a DNR grant to engage youth and adults from underrepresented populations in conservation sports like in fishing and hunting. As examples, we hosted a River Festival and Outdoor Extravaganza at Coon Rapids Dam (soon to be Mississippi Gateway Regional Park) highlighting archery with brand new equipment, and sending youth away with 200 free fishing poles at this gathering and other fishing camps this past summer! We also expanded ongoing archery classes at this Regional Park with new targets, bows and arrows. At Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement, we have added archery equipment and new ladder stands, and are hosting mentored archery hunts for youth. As additional outreach examples, a new fishing club focuses on youth in inner-tier suburbs, clinics introduce fly fishing to individuals, and free ice fishing programs celebrate Minnesota’s heritage and love of winter.

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Nine Mile Creek Trail is open!

IMG_0096.JPGOur Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail is now officially open! With completion of the Edina segment, the entire trail stretches 15 miles from downtown Hopkins, through Minnetonka, Edina, and Richfield – all cities that I represent on the Three Rivers Board. The views along the creek are spectacular, and the trail finally links all these communities to our entire regional trail network. It truly is a jewel in the Three Rivers system.

The multi-year, complex project presented significant challenges, since it’s always difficult to buildIMG_0130.JPG a trail through fully developed communities – both engineering and political. As you ride or walk the Nine Mile Creek Trail, you’ll see how some of those challenges were overcome: more than two miles of scenic boardwalks through the protected wetlands, integrated screening for neighborhoods, two bridges over major highways.

IMG_0141.JPGAs a special shout-out, Edina Mayor Jim Hovland was a tireless advocate for the project. It’s not an exaggeration to say that without his help, and that of his city council colleagues and staff, this trail could not have been built.

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Connecting Nine Mile Trail with Hyland Reserve

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Three Rivers is working with the cities of Edina and Bloomington on a regional trail study along the CP Rail line running north-south through those communities and adjacent to the east side of Hyland Lake Park Reserve. The study will identify details of a future route alignment between our new Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail and Hyland Lake Park Reserve, and will eventually initiate a greater master plan effort covering the entirety of a future north-south regional trail corridor.

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Our first Spring Break Explorer Camp!

explorer.jpgOur first ever Spring Break Explorer Camp was a great success! In partnership with the cities of Robbinsdale, Crystal, New Hope, and Golden Valley, Three Rivers hosted an Explorer Camp at Lion’s Valley Place Park in Crystal. Three Rivers offered participants a great week that included animal habitats, bird migration, and camouflage. Learning about these topics included games and art projects. Campers created pictures of bird migration with watercolors and habitats for animals made out of clay. They tried out archery and disc golf and also met several live reptiles and amphibians. Days were filled with fun and learning, but reflecting the need for unstructured play, campers also directed their own fun and learning with exploring the mostly frozen pond, rolling down the huge sledding hill, and experimenting with what types of food the resident ant colony liked best.

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Hopkins ARTery is open!

IMG_2217_copy.jpgThe Hopkins ARTery project has opened! Three Rivers partnered with the City of Hopkins and Hennepin County to complete a gap in our regional trail system in downtown Hopkins. This unique city project serves as an entry to their downtown with art features along 8th Avenue. Three Rivers was responsible for the integrated bike trail component, which now links our Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota River Bluffs, and Cedar Lake regional trails. And best of all, the largest raspberry in the world now marks the connection to our trail I use to ride to The Depot!

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Re-elect John Gunyou!

I am pleased to announce my re-election campaign for Three Rivers Park Commissioner!wetland.jpg

As Board Chair for the past six years, I am proud of all we have accomplished, and remain committed to connecting people with nature through collaborative partnerships, long-term stewardship and fiscally responsible management. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to live my values every day.

I invite you to review the vision I shared for Three Rivers when I was first elected in 2012, and also check out our progress in achieving those goals for Environmental Stewardship, Regional Parks and Trails, Community Outreach, and Responsible Management. My goals and results are detailed on this link: My Commitment to You.

Under my leadership as Board Chair, we have completed some of the largest projects in Three Rivers history, both on-time and on-budget:

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  • Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail, which connects Edina, Richfield, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Bloomington, and provides links with other regional trails.
  • Replacement of the Hyland Hills Ski Chalet, which hosts 160,000 visitors every year, including 40,000 lessons and many local ski teams.
  • Nationally recognized 5K cross country ski facility, which provides lighted trails and dependable snow for thousands of Nordic skiers and school teams.

I am especially proud of our Community Outreach initiatives that now bring more of Three Rivers’ exceptional recreation and environmental education programs into first tier communities. This is very important for children and seniors in communities like Richfield, Hopkins, Robbinsdale and Brooklyn Center, who have traditionally had less access to our great facilities and services.

As Board Chair, I have championed creative local partnerships to significantly improve access to parks, trails and programs. As Kids.jpgexamples:

  • Explorer Camps now bring popular Three Rivers recreation and environmental programs into partner city parks and senior centers.
  • Our Parks on the Go van delivers outdoor recreation and education activities to more than 200 community festivals, school events and health fairs every year.
  • "On-Ramp" Trail Connections link local trails to our regional trail network.
  • Three Rivers Nature Center Partnerships with schools, libraries and nonprofits to offer outdoor experiences for participants in their own communities.
  • Park Partnerships have jointly developed nature trails, fitness courses and other facilities in Richfield, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Center city parks.

field_kids.pngWith my extensive financial management background, I have introduced long-term planning procedures to stabilize agency debt and insure the future capacity to provide our highly valued services well into the future - and at a reasonable cost. As a result, Three Rivers has a coveted AAA bond rating, and despite double digit visitor increases, has held property taxes flat for the last four years in a row.

I am honored to have the continuing support of many respected community, state and national leaders, and hope you might consider joining them in supporting my candidacy for re-election to this nonpartisan seat by following the link Support John

As a public official, I have always been committed to regularly communicate with and be readily accessible to those who elected me to serve. Please take advantage of the many opportunities on this website to Stay in Touch by joining the thousand people who already follow my John's Blogand Newsletter, Community UpdatesFacebook page and Twitter account, where I post daily updates on our many activities. My extensive background and detailed positions on issues are available on the link About John

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve our communities over the past six years as Three Rivers Board Chair, and would welcome the chance to continue my lifelong commitment to public service. Thank you for your continuing trust and support.

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West Metro Trails Study is underway!

Untitled.jpegPublic engagement has started in the cities of Minnetonka, Plymouth and Wayzata for the West Metro Regional Trails Study. This planning effort will explore opportunities to further expand our Three Rivers trail network in the west metro area, and two main trail corridors are being explored: 1) a north-south alignment to connect Eagle Lake, French and Bryant Lake parks, as well as the Minnetonka Community Center, and 2) an extension of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail in downtown Wayzata to the trail network through a new terminus near the Minnetonka Community Center.

We will be hosting Listening Sessions with running and biking clubs, park and recreation commissions, watershed districts and chambers of commerce, and will also hold Open Houses in community centers and regional parks. We’ll also hold informal “Pop-Up” events in such venues as the Williston Center, Tour de Tonka, area farmers markets, Minnetonka Summer Festival, Minnetonka Eco Fun Fest and Native Plant Market, Plymouth Bark in the Park, senior center and various Wayzata locations. As always, we hope you’ll actively participate in planning your regional trails!

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Regional Trail Award

14358744_10153750012551746_8861123148290804442_n-1474899946-8033.jpgNokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail recently received an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC).  ACEC sponsors an Engineering Excellence Award annually, and this marked its 50th anniversary. Our most recent trail received the award this year for it’s uniqueness and innovative application of construction techniques; future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development; engineering complexity; and successful completion on time and on budget. We hope you'll check it out! 

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair