By Jon Wogen, TBC Board member, with permission from the Renville County Register
Today, in the third installment of our series on vacations, we would like to share the closest destination of all of the previous discussions. This will be the Tatanka Bluffs Corridor (TBC). Where on earth is this? Right here. Yes, a tourism destination worthy of your consideration is right here in Redwood and Renville County and the Minnesota River Corridor that connects the two counties like a “zipper”.
TBC is a wonderful area for vacations close to home. The Corridor includes all of the area from Fort Ridgely State Park to the Upper Agency State park and all of the two counties.
Besides being an area to vacation in, TBC is also a group of people who work to accomplish lots of things for the 26 towns (neighborhoods) of the two Counties. The mission of TBC Group is “To be a catalyst in community cooperation, economic development, tourism expansion and community revitalization within Redwood and Renville Counties”.
TBC Group is an umbrella group that includes the two counties and the scenic Minnesota River and its valley. One motto of the TBC Group is: “Underutilized Corridor assets + innovative Corridor leadership= Corridor economic advantage.”
TBC Group seeks to attract newcomers, retain current businesses and people, and to help to develop more “things to do” right here in the Corridor. The Group wishes to help to develop future leaders and believes that “We are in this together”. TBC Group advertises our area and promotes tourism in the area. Make this the year that you take a part of your vacation in our close to home region.
The members of TBC believe that in working together, we can promote small town survival and help them to thrive. They have adopted the word “Thrival” to describe this concept. The Group is concerned with what Ben Winchester, a speaker at the last TBC 26-town meeting said, “Many small towns are playing a role in their own demise”.
This Group of concerned area leaders hopes to attract more new people to our area and the “Boomerangers” who once lived here and now may choose to come “home” to the area they grew up in. These young people remember how fun it was to live here and how safe it seemed to be here. They remember the good schools and communities that gave them their start in life. They want to raise their own kids in such a place.
Maybe it is time that many of our local area people start to learn more about our two-County, 26-neighborhood TBC. We can start by spending time and our dollars throughout the region. We can learn about our area resources, tourist attractions, parks, amenities, and exciting people who live in this area. We can take a few shorter vacation days to spend in the Tatanka Bluffs Corridor and to learn history of the region and learn to appreciate the resources present here. The geological history and history of the war of 1862 can be studied by local tourism.
Town parks are usually a nice place to stop for a picnic when traveling. One of the best parks owned by a city is in the TBC at Redwood Falls. This is one of those parks that people from all over want to stop at every year, and sometimes more than once a year. The waterfall on Ramsey Creek in this park is one of the most-photographed sites in Minnesota. Redwood County has one County Park, and that is Plum Creek at Walnut Grove. The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum is there as well as the family farm there.
County Parks in Renville County are always a good bet for a pleasant experience with your family. The Renville County River Parks are an amazing resource. Starting at Mack Lake Park near Fort Ridgely and Anderson Lake near Franklin, these two parks are sometimes flooded by high water in the valley after a storm event. But, they have great fishing opportunities and wonderful hiking trails to explore. Bring your camera.
Birch Coulee County Park north of Morton with the Battlefield adjoining the park will give you a pleasant learning and walking experience for a day of vacationing. West of Birch Coulee is Beaver Falls, once the site of the Renville County Courthouse and a community of residents. Farther up the river valley one comes to Vicksburg County Park south of Renville. This park is also a former town and has the best rock outcrops of all the County Parks. Moving upriver a bit more, one comes to Skalbekken Park southwest of Sacred Heart. This park is very popular with horse groups and is full of walking/riding trails. A picnic here on the banks of the Minnesota River is a nice experience anytime in the warm seasons. Scenic views are common in this park. This park has an upper and a lower component.
The Parks of Renville County protect remnants of native prairie and woodland plants that are very pleasant to study and learn about. The plants growing upon the rock outcrops are rugged individuals and some are very rare. They add a “touch of class” to the ancient rock outcrops that date back three and a half billion years. Talk about history!
If you would like to teach your kids how to fish, you are very welcome to take them to the Pond Park in Olivia. It is stocked with crappies and they are of catchable size. The area around the stormwater pond in Olivia is becoming a park with a great walking trail and is attached to a small park (West Park) where some playground equipment is available. Wildlife can be viewed at this park and north of the pond is a nice plot of native prairie plantings to enjoy. The wild flowers will hit peak at the end of June if weather and timing are good.
Vacation in our “home area”? Of course. There is so much to see and do in the Tatanka Bluffs Corridor of Redwood and Renville Counties that a vacation here is very worthwhile. Economically, spending money locally is always a good thing. Your dollars are multiplied several times as the dollars circulate around the area. That is a great concept..
THE WISDOM OF SVEN
Sven reminds leaders of the 26 communities in the TBC that there is a TBC website where you can post your upcoming events in your town. People can then check in at the TBC.com site, and see what you are doing. It might bring a few new people into town for your celebration or special days.
Sven quotes Jon here: “If you are going to do something, make it matter. Do what you can with what you have where you are, and don’t chase your productive citizen away.”