From: Anna Richey
Southern Minnesota regional manager
In Minnesota, summer always seems to come too late, and never last nearly long enough. Here we sit, once again, with Labor Day just around the corner. It would be easy to use this as an excuse to go looking for that box of sweaters in the back of the closet, or start shopping for pumpkin-spice coffee creamers. But there will be plenty of time for that later. This is the time when you should grasp this opportunity by the horns and make a plan to get out and enjoy the final few weeks of summer. To that end, if you’re looking for any last-minute ideas for how to get the most out of summer, here are my top three.
When many people think of southern Minnesota recreation, the city of Lanesboro and its bike paths is generally fairly high on the list — and for good reason. But what not a lot of people know is that the city is rapidly gaining attention for its family-friendly Root River tubing trips. Unlike some of the rowdier river tubing opportunities offered closer to the metro area, the Root River tubing opportunities are built to be relaxing opportunities for families to enjoy together.
Another hidden gem of a park is the Forestville Mystery Cave Park just outside Preston. The park boasts a historic ghost town that has period reenactors helping guide visitors through life in the times of Forestville. Or, you can beat the heat by checking out the stalactites and stalagmites found in the cave system that runs below the park. The park also offers a network of hiking trails, and some of the best trout fishing in the state can be found on the streams that run through the park.
Further to the west, the Linnaeus Arboretum on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter is an interesting walk through the wilds of Minnesota. Named for Swedish botanist Carolus Linneaeus, the arboretum is open to the public daily during daylight hours. The associated Melva Lind Interpretive Center is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and noon, and by appointment.
The reason we stay in a place where winters are too long and summers are too short is because of how many great opportunities there are to enjoy this state in all of its seasons. Soon the kids will be back to school and the leaves will start to change. Before that happens, make sure you savor your summer while it lasts.
Conservation Minnesota is a nonpartisan organization working to protect the Minnesota you love. With a network of over 75,000 Minnesotans statewide, Conservation Minnesota’s unique approach starts by asking Minnesotans which conservation issues are most important to solve. For more information, check out www.conservationminnesota.org.