Posts Tagged ‘Redwood County’

Posts Tagged ‘Redwood County’

Ready to Review the Minnesota River Valley Recreation & Conservation Master Plan

May 8th, 2017

Ready to Review the Minnesota River Valley Recreation and Conservation Master Plan

The draft Minnesota River Valley Recreation and Conservation Master plan is available for a 30-day public comment period. The Master Plan can be found at  Comments about the plan can be sent to  through June 8, 2017. Printed copies of the plan are available for loan at the Renville County Environmental Office in Olivia, the Redwood County Environmental Office in Redwood Falls, the Redwood Falls Public Library and the Lower Sioux Environmental office in Morton.

A public open house will also be held June 8th to receive written comments about the Master Plan. The open house will be in Redwood Falls, in the Redwood Falls Public Library community room from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

The Minnesota River Valley Master Plan is a collaborative effort between Redwood and Renville counties and the DNR.  

The purpose of the plan is to:

  • Develop an outdoor recreation destination that would promote regional economic growth, development, and tourism while respecting private lands and the agricultural heritage of the area.
  • Promote the conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Minnesota River Valley area in Redwood and Renville Counties.
  • Provide for the shared use, enjoyment, and understanding of resources through a broad selection of outdoor recreational opportunities and recreational travel routes that connect units of the outdoor recreation system in the river valley.
  • Assess impacts to the natural and cultural resources, interpretive services, recreational opportunities, and administrative activities in the area. Recommendations on the possible unit designation of the area under the Outdoor Recreation Act.

At the direction of the Minnesota Legislature in 2014, the DNR worked with civic leaders from Redwood County and Renville County and the counties’ consultant, Great Outdoors Consultants, to examine how to better leverage and protect the natural and cultural assets in the Minnesota River valley. Those assets include public lands like state and county parks, wildlife management areas (WMAs), remnant native prairies and floodplain forests, glacial geology features, many rare species, a rich agricultural heritage and a high density of historic sites.

“A big thank you to the hundreds of citizens, landowners, and business owners that provided input to the master plan,” said DNR southern region director Dennis Frederickson. “The feedback they gave at public workshops and through the comment periods helped shape this document. We appreciate how people have invested time and energy in promoting and protecting assets that are near their communities.”

The master plan goals and actions work towards providing a balance between recreation and conservation opportunities. This includes possible new trails that link city parks, county parks, state parks, and campgrounds to communities and recreational attractions like museums and historical sites. Strategically increasing the placement of conservation lands on the landscape will help maintain the character and quality of the area.

This is an exciting milestone for the project,” said Redwood County Environmental Director Scott Wold. “I look forward to working with the community as we move from this initial planning stage and begin implementing the Master Plan recommendations.”

Once final county and state approval is given to the master plan, the next step is to begin implementing strategies identified in the plan. An important first step is for the project partners to convene an advisory board for the area consisting of local organizations, individuals and agencies. Secondly, special designations can be sought to add importance and raise awareness for the project. Communities will need to secure project funding through a combination of state and local funds, and private contributions.  Now the rewarding work begins as local communities join together, supported by various organizations and agencies, to bring the vision they created to realization. This will take some time and effort but will reap benefits for many generations of local residents.

Funding for this master plan project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) through a grant to Renville and Redwood counties


September 4th, 2015

By Jon Wogen, TBC Board member and outdoor enthusiast — printed with permission from the Renville County Register

Over many years being a firearms instructor, I have come to the conclusion that Women Learn Better and Faster Than Men. It just can’t be overlooked anymore. The reason of course is that when they come to a firearms or hunter safety class, they carry little or no baggage from previous instruction. They don’t assume that they know much about the subject. They are receptive to new information and don’t forget it.

Once upon a time I was urged to advertise a gun/hunter safety class only for women. This was through a Community Education Program at school.We taught the usual things like how guns shoot, types of guns, safety, wildlife and wildlife conservation, survival when hunting and such. This class also includes marksmanship.  But, as an added bit of excitement, we offered a chance to earn certification in marksmanship through the National Rifle Association. And, as the frosting on the cake, a tournament for a trophy would be held in the .22 rifle competition at the end of class.After only a couple of classes, a couple of members ordered a new rifle with “peep” sights, sling, swivels and better trigger. Other women followed their lead as their funds would permit. Soon over half of the women had a .22 target rifle that was well-equipped to give them the best service possible in marksmanship.

Were these women serious? You can only imagine. These women paid attention, asked a lot of questions and really tried to learn and improve throughout the course. We shot our rifles in the gymnasium at the High School at that time; not as scary as it sounds.  These women quickly advanced upward in their marksmanship qualification shooting from pro-marksman to marksman, to marksman first class and then sharpshooter. None had enough time to reach expert as the class did eventually have to come to a close. But, several did reach sharpshooter. We were very proud of them.  Anyone with the proper attitude, perseverance, and good equipment can do well. The women with less than high class equipment didn’t make sharpshooter, but the lower ranks were easy for them. This is like golf, you shoot against a “par” score.  Beyond this basic firearms and safety class, some of the women chose to move on to handguns and eventually shotguns. Familiarity with all types of firearms gave these women incentive to keep studying and practicing.

Since most states allow some form of Concealed Carry of a loaded handgun, many women take the basic class as a foundation to move on up to handguns and defensive techniques with them in preparation for a Concealed Carry Class. The Concealed Carry Class is about eight to 9 hours long, including the actual shooting for qualification. If the women take this class and shoot well enough, they apply for their Concealed Carry Permit at the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff does an FBI Background Check on them. In a few days or a couple of weeks, the permit is issued to the people if there is nothing to cause the withholding of the permit.

Many women have shown me their permit with a huge grin on their face. They are very proud of the fact that they studied the subject, practiced well and shot well and now are able to carry the concealed firearm, loaded, on their person. A few of the women in my classes had “scary” encounters that drove them to decide that they needed to take responsibility for their own and family safety.

We have discovered that there are a lot of “closet” women who are truly interested in personal protection and want to learn more. They need to just come out of the closet and do something about it.  Some people have formed a “league” for shooting and meet a couple of times a month at the ranges and shoot together. That can be a great social gathering and learning experience for the participants. Better marksmanship is the result, whether with the .22 rifle, handgun or shotgun.  We have noticed that women like the social aspects of shooting and enjoy each other’s company, even more than men do.  We have put out a little food for thought here. Does any of this excite you ladies? Talk it up among your friends and associates and see if you might be interested in the shooting sports. If you haven’t read last week’s article about Girls Having Fun while hunting, please do so. Ponder the possibilities.


The Renville County Sheriff’s Deputies will be holding a field practical portion of the Youth Firearms Safety Class on September 19 at 9:00 a.m. The classroom portion of the class will have to be done on-line at the DNR Website. Class size is limited to the first 25 who sign up. The Sheriff’s Facebook Page has details on this class. You can also call the Office at 320-523-1161 located at the Renville County Office Building. Parents should call to get their youngsters registered so they don’t miss out. Age 11 and above allowed in. Ask the Deputy if there are openings by the time of class, if adults can come in and join the group to fill the class.


August 24th, 2015

submitted by Jon Wogen, TBC Board member, and printed with permission from the Renville County Register

What if a young couple with children happened to stop in our town? And, what if they were thinking about moving back to a rural area from the big city to raise their kids here?

And, what if they stopped at the convenience store and found the bathrooms to be a mess? And what if the clerk behind the counter was a grump and didn’t seem to care whether he or she even liked their job, and not to mention people?

And, what if they wanted to spend a night or several days scouting out our towns as a potential new place to raise their kids? Could they locate a motel, hotel, or bed-and-breakfast without too much effort?

Could this young couple find parks easily? Are there direction signs available and visible to a newcomer?

Is our town friendly to riding bikes or walking around to see things? What kind of impression of our streets, stores, shops and restaurants is presented to the newcomers? Are there irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up after the dog goes potty?

If a young family does find a park in our towns is there something for kids to do or play on? How about a picnic table where the newcomers or travelers can stop to eat their picnic lunch? Is there a bench in the park for the parents to sit on as they watch their kids unwinding from a trip in the car?

What if the parents of the other kids playing on the playground equipment are busy texting and talking while their own kids bully the newcomer’s kids? What if the texters/talkers never speak up to stop the bullying? Would this young family want to move to this town after this episode?

What if a young family looking for a new town to live in heard there was a swimming pool? Could they find info about it? Could they even find it or are there no signs about it? Could they locate a sign about open hours for public swimming? Is there a “kiosk” in a park where they could learn more about our town, including locations of important (to young families) places?

As the young family drives, walks, or bikes around the town they are looking at the houses and properties of the residents. Would there be well-kept lawns, flowers, and a well-kept house on each lot? What if there were junk cars, appliances, and junk of all kinds stacked up in some yards? Are the weeds pulled up around the houses instead of hiding the house from the street?

As travelers or possible new citizens to our towns drive into town, what kind of welcoming signs are there for them to see? Are the public service organizations listed at the entrance to our towns? Is the welcoming sign attractive and well-kept? Are there flowers around the welcome sign, or weeds?

As you can imagine, we could go on and on about first impression of our own towns. Discussing our town from a stranger’s perspective can be difficult and even embarrassing.

As you can see, everyone in our towns can be an ambassador for our towns. Imagine a stranger pulls up to where you are gardening or working in your yard. He or she asks where such and such a place is. Can you be helpful with that? We have seen where a home owner drove his or her own car and led the newcomer visitors to a church for a funeral in our town. That can convey a good impression about our town.

Going the extra mile really makes sense. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Helpful, friendly, cheerful, accommodating, nice, are just some of the words that can describe many of the people in our towns. Could there be more? Are you one of them?

Tatanka Bluffs Corridor, consisting of Redwood (16 towns) and Renville County (10 towns) should be an area that can make that first good impression on a stranger. Each of our 26 towns can plan, work, fix, plant, clean and be attractive to anyone who is looking for a super nice place to live.

We might consider becoming more familiar with some of the beautiful parts of our Counties too. Then, when we talk with strangers or possibly new members of our communities, we can share with them that there is more than those beautiful and green corn fields in our two counties. We have one of the most beautiful places in Minnesota. That is, of course the Minnesota River and its valley, plus the tributaries flowing into it. There are parks in both counties that hold many beautiful sights for folks to enjoy. The Minnesota River is the “zipper” that holds the two counties together.

We can make a list of all the things people would like about our town. Then we can make a list of what they might not like about it. Which list is longest? Can anything be done about any of those negative things about our towns?

Attitude is a biggie when we think about our Tatanka Bluffs Corridor area. Is our attitude that we don’t need any newcomers or boomerangers to come to our towns? Boomerangers are former students who might want to raise their kids where they can become “Free-Range Kids”. They want a safe and friendly place to raise their kids. A good attitude about our towns will make us think of the future of our towns. What would we like to see in the future? Will we still be a viable community in the future or will we just be hanging by a thread as we lose people and don’t gain any productive citizens anymore?

Becoming an ambassador for our towns is easy to do. Survival of our 26 communities is important to the future of our Counties. Can you help?


Sven says, “No matter how small and unimportant what we are doing may seem, if we do it well, it may soon become the step that will lead us to do better things.”


August 17th, 2015

By Jon Wogen, TBC Board member — printed with permission from the Renville County Register

Most Renville and Redwood County residents like to see the Minnesota River Valley and the parks that can be found in and near the valley.

We are well aware of the unique and ancient rock outcrops in the valley and in the parks. These rocks are three and a half billion years old. They may have been at the base of a mountain range that ran across Minnesota, according to some geologists.

We enjoy driving between the two counties (the Tatanka Bluffs Corridor) and seeing the beautiful trees, the river winding through the flood plain and the wildlife that may appear at any time.

Most of us are also aware that the Minnesota River is really too small to have carved this valley in only 10,000 years. The Glacial River Warren, flowing through the breech in the glacial moraine holding back the water in Glacial Lake Agassiz did have the power and volume to carve the valley.

River Warren scoured off the soil on top of the bedrock leaving the bedrocks exposed. The exposed rocks were also attacked by the huge river and whirlpools were formed. These had gravel, sand and larger rocks trapped within the powerful circular current.

As these whirlpools spun, the abrasion by the gravel and rocks bored its way down into and in some cases, through the exposed bedrock.

Some whirlpools only made shallow “kettles” on the rock surface. These collect water and provide habitat for several rare species of plants on the outcrops and domes of bedrock.

Wait, there is more.

Yes, as tributary streams flowed toward and then down into the valley of the River Warren, waterfalls were created.

As creek water came into the valley, it also eventually found its way to the bedrocks. There is where the waterfalls were formed.

There are a few folks who appreciate these waterfalls. One is Bob Douglas, retired professor from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. He was an instructor in geography there, but his sideline was study of waterfalls and their history.

Douglas became very interested in the Minnesota River and fell in love with the waterfalls in the Minnesota River Valley and its tributaries.

A “lunch-and-learn” event was held July 18 at the meeting room above the River Valley Arms and Ammo store in Morton. Ken Speake, KARE 11 News, retired, was the emcee for the meeting held before lunch. He introduced Bob Douglas to the assembled River-lovers gathered there.

Douglas shared photos and historical information about some of the waterfalls in the Minnesota Watershed. His enthusiasm was very evident for what he had found.

Following the event at River Valley Arms, many of the participants moved over to Beaver Falls Park to view the falls there. This is one of the Renville County Parks. After spending time here, the participants shared their thoughts about waterfalls and the beauty of the Valley of the Minnesota River.

Douglas explained that many waterfalls provided campsites for Native Americans, early explorers, and fur rendezvous were held at some of the larger ones.

This event was sponsored by the Minnesota Valley History Learning Center and Friends of the Minnesota Valley, and some of their volunteer supporters. Their next event is to study the Morton Rock Outcrops Scientific and Natural Area behind the old Morton School. This will be on September 12, 2015. 

If you are interested, contact me. I can e-mail you a brochure about the three events sponsored by this group, or you can click here to go directly to their website!