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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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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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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Camping at Three Rivers

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With Spring just around the corner, I wanted to remind you that Three Rivers offers a wide variety of camping opportunities from camper cabins to RV/tent/camper and even bike-only sites. Be sure to check out this link to explore all your options, and then reserve a cabin or site on our new registration system!

As our newest offering, Lake Auburn Campground now offers bike-only sites for those pedaling along Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail. Amenities include a commons area with a fire ring, picnic tables and bike rack. These sites are first-come, first-served.

We offer a variety of group camping options, and exciting programs like naturalist sessions and holiday event weekends. You can also take advantage of watercraft and bike rentals for your stay, and a host of equipment like GPS units, disc golf, volleyballs, etc. I hope you can join us sometime!

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Community engagement update

xxxxx__2008.jpgA group of 40 individuals from Dar Al-Farooq Community Center in East Bloomington, one of our partner organizations, recently visited our Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement for an overnight trip. Three Rivers staff greeted the group in the Lodge when they arrived on Friday, helped with cabin fires, and played a few ice-breaker games as others gathered around the campfire outside. Saturday morning was met with questions from the kids regarding animals in the area and inquiries on the day’s activities. We led a wilderness survival skills program with many who enjoyed fire building.

As another example of our increasing outreach efforts, we'll be hosting the Spring Break Explorer Camp in Crystal, where the full schedule will include learning about birds, habitats and ponds. Participants will have an opportunity to meet an animal, enjoy a recreational activity, create some art, and interact with the outdoors each day. Reconnecting our kids with Nature!

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Rennet Nordic & Fat Tire Bike Races

xxhxxx__2008.jpgOur signature winter Rennet Races at Hyland Lake Park Reserve continue to grow, with nearly 1000 participants this year, and well over 1,000 spectators who attended over the two-day period! In all, eight events featuring 18 different races took place. As the Rennet grows, our partnerships also continue to evolve and expand. This year, we welcomed Minnesota Youth Ski League and Skijor USA.

The Friday Night Lights high school Rennet was spectacular this year. A total of 465 high xxxxx__2008.jpgschool athletes from around the state came to Hyland for a mass start race focusing on boys’ and girls’ divisions in skate and classic nordic ski techniques for junior varsity and varsity racers. The park was filled to capacity with coaches, parents, friends, and athletes watching the racers compete. Highland Park High School (St. Paul) won both the boys’ and girls’ varsity this year, beating out the Lake Conference schools. It seems fitting that Highland won at Hyland!

xxyyxxx__2008.jpgThe lights and excitement Friday night gave way to a Saturday race day that featured 481 participants taking part in a variety of races including a 22K ski, 10K ski, kids’ races, para races, skijoring and fat bike races. People came from seven states and Canada to participate. The out-of-staters commented how Hyland is a "jewel," and the community is fortunate to have such a resource in the Twin Cities metro area!

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Three Rivers hosts MN's Inaugural Nordic Ski Opener!

xxxxx__2008.jpgThe inaugural Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener at Elm Creek Park Reserve was a huge success! An estimated 3,000 people attended over the course of the day. Three Rivers was honored to host the event, and we received an official proclamation from Governor Mark Dayton. Following the short program, Goldy Gopher led a mascot ski with four high school mascots. Our staff did an amazing job readying the tracks, providing nearly 500 ski packages and hundreds of mini-lessons to new skiers. Continuing our commitment to outreach, first time skiers included about 70 participants from Outdoor Afro, Outdoor Latino MN and Kwestrong Indigenous Women’s Wellness. Each of the groups are exploring additional options for continued winter fun at Three Rivers in the coming months, and we’re sure to see many of them back on the trails!

 

 

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Nine Mile Trail fully opens this Spring!

44DA6C5B-75EF-4963-BF5B-BF886B86CAB4.JPGOur signature Nine Mile Creek Trail will be fully open this Spring! The eastern segments through Edina were finished last year, and were opened last Spring. After federal funding was secured for the western segments from Tracy Avenue to 169, trail paving and the new pedestrian bridge over Highway 62 was completed. The boardwalk between Duncan Lane and Londonderry Drive was completed, and trails within Bredesen Park opened.

Trail and road construction and striping on Gleason Road between Vernon Avenue and Bredesen Park was finished, and sign installations and temporary cover of exposed soil completed for the Winter. Final turf restoration will be completed this coming Spring. The final boardwalk segment between Walnut Ridge Park and the Vernon/Gleason intersection was built during the Winter once the wetlands were sufficiently frozen. That means, the entire Edina segment of our 15 mile trail will be fully complete and ready for use by Spring 2018!

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As these photos from last Fall show, the recently completed boardwalks through Edina's wetlands are receiving rave reviews for their beautiful scenery! When fully open, the trail will span the cities of Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield, and Bloomington, and connect to the Lake Minnetonka LRT, Minnesota River 

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Bluffs LRT, Cedar Lake LRT, North Cedar Lake, and Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trails as well as the planned Minnesota River State Trail, Dakota County Big Rivers Regional Trail, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Bloomington Visitor Center, and Fort Snelling State Park.

C6AA93E7-646B-4368-96FB-D9B7416C0DCE.JPGThe Minnetonka Bike Club couldn’t wait for everything to be finished! This past Summer, they rode the entire length of the trail - with a few detours around construction zones. Their reaction: “The trail is gorgeous, with a loooonnnnngggggg boardwalk through the creek wetlands, which were still bright with wildflowers . . . Three Rivers Parks did an awesome job! We can't wait for the rest to be finished.”
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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair