New trails highlight major changes at Lake Elmo Park Reserve

This year, Washington County launched a major transformation at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, aided in part by a grant from the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund. The park has added a new parking lot and entrance off of Inwood Ave., created new trails, and began work to restore 166 acres of prairie and oak savanna. On the east side of the park near the Nordic Center, Washington County added 2.2 miles of new ski trails.

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Tamarack Nature Preserve Park & Boardwalk Reopening Celebration

Smack dab in the middle of bustling, suburban Woodbury, the Tamarack Nature Preserve is a hidden gem containing the southern-most tamarack swamp in Minnesota. A community event Oct. 16-18 will include a virtual tour and water pollution mystery game.

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Explore the Brown’s Creek Watershed with a virtual tour and scavenger hunt

This fall, Brown’s Creek Watershed District is offering a virtual tour and scavenger hunt to highlight some of the historical features, natural wonders, and stream-improvement projects along the route.

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A crack in the rock & a beach in the forest

Crystal Spring Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) in Scandia was established just four years ago. It contains a crystalline spring that pours out of the side of a rock wall, deep in an emerald chasm.

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Search for hidden treasure, and sometimes you find goats

Charlie and I excitedly watched our beacon move ever closer to the hidden cache as we hiked down a trail into the woods. 350 feet to go. 300 feet to go. 100 feet to go! Then we heard a plaintive bleat from behind the trees. Had I heard a goat?

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What goes down, must come up

Ask anyone with young kids and they’ll tell you about the strain of parenting in COVID times. With schools, summer camps, and daycare closed, we dance a wiggly cha cha as we attempt to somehow do a full day’s work while simultaneously caring for stir-crazy children who’ve been stuck at home since March.  This summer,…

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Paddle, Bike, Repeat: Four days on the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers

We started our trip at the County Rd K landing (Namekagon River), near Trego, Wisconsin, and ended four days later at the Lower Tamarack landing (St. Croix River), 47-miles downriver. To avoid using a shuttle or bringing two cars, I brought my mountain bike along and rode back to our put-in at the end of each day to bring our truck and camping gear down to the next location.

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Rumor has it there’s a rumor in town

Tanners Lake is part of the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD), and the district has worked hard to improve and protect water quality in the lake over the past 20 years. In fact, Tanners was one of the first lakes in Minnesota to be removed from the state’s impaired waters list (in 2004) after phosphorus levels went down and algae stopped being a problem.

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Meandering in the woods

There is an art to meandering in the woods. For Trout Brook and other naturalized streams, the “wiggles” allow for different types of habitat that fish need.

Sometimes people need a pause to wander in the woods as well.

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Find wilderness close to home

Like any good wilderness adventure, our day featured a stimulating mix of peaceful solitude, surprising discoveries, playful rest time, and harrowing travel.

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