Posts Tagged ‘Tatanka Bluffs Corridor’

Posts Tagged ‘Tatanka Bluffs Corridor’


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!


June 23rd, 2015

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

We all have friends and acquaintances who have passed away. Some of them lived a long life, and others died way too young. Facing one’s mortality is very unsettling to many, including this scribe. Most of us have not made a priority out of thinking about our eventual end.

Friends who have suffered from strokes, heart attacks or cancer have been an alarm call for us. Friends who have lost the ability to walk or to be active have been a reason for us to think through our possible remaining years. Fishing and hunting buddies who can no longer participate in those sports are a warning of impending problems for us too.

O.K., we can’t ignore the fact that our “Clock” was wound only one time and we don’t know when it might come to a screeching halt. That reminds one of the poem by Robert H. Smith on this topic. Check it out.

We sit here on our favorite couch or chair watching the world coming apart with war, riots, genocide, poultry diseases, layoffs and such. It would be easy to become skeptical and to sit and wring our hands. It would be easy to say, “To heck with it,” and to become a hermit. We could easily drop out of our groups, clubs, obligations and our commitments.

But, would we, when confronted with our impending death, fear that we have lived a “Half-lived Life”? Would we, while lying on our death bed, have the awful feeling as we looked back on our lives, and say, “I can’t go yet, I have only lived half way?” Herman Melville wrote a poem on this topic about the “Half-lived Life”. Check that one out too, if interested.

So, what’s a Senior Citizen to do? Sitting around isn’t an option for most of us. We want to stay active and involved. Active senior citizens usually have more fun. They get more exercise. They enjoy people more. They try to be of service to others.

Active Seniors try to not worry so much. They learn to enjoy each day. They are involved in a cause, and it may be as simple as encouraging the survival of butterflies and bees in their gardens.

Active Seniors promote healthy living amenities in their towns. They want more parks and trails for others and themselves to enjoy. A town that caters to the need of its Senior Citizens as well as its youth, will encourage activity. A town can be more Senior-friendly by simply having safe streets for walking and riding bikes. Sidewalks that are well-maintained can help seniors and kids to walk, ride bikes and feel free.

We all know a Senior Citizen who builds and places bird houses or bird feeders out there for his favorite critters. They often make bird houses to give away to others to enjoy too. We all know Seniors who would appreciate a chance to go fishing with you. They might even enjoy golfing if invited. You may have to be a bit patient taking someone along on either venture.

A Senior Center can provide a place to gather for Senior Citizens. Playing cards, doing crafts, ping pong, walking for exercise, or just engaging in fun conversation is good for Seniors.

Active Seniors are usually healthier than those who don’t get enough activity and exercise. If they live near parks and trails, they have more physical activity. A place to go fishing close by or a place to watch wildlife will help the Senior Citizens and everyone else to be active.

Seniors who have a garden get exercise and a sense of being needed by the plants and the pollinators that attend to the flowers. A Senior who owns and walks a dog every day gets exercise and feels needed by his close four-legged companion.

No matter what town you live in, you can make sure your Seasoned Citizens have a chance to remain active. In this day of small towns shrinking in population, it is so important to make sure your Seniors have activities and places to go for their exercise and interests. Keeping Seniors in our towns rather than have them move to another town that caters to Seniors is a good idea. Maintaining our population is very important to the thrival of the town (combination of survival and thrive).

We have noticed that many small towns contribute to their own demise. They don’t seem to be tuned into the needs of people who might want to move in or to stay in their towns. Attracting young people to either come as newcomers or as boomerang people is very important to all communities in our area. Boomerangers were educated and grew up in our towns, and now might want to raise their own kids in the safe environment of their home towns.

One of my favorite sayings, and I do over-use it, is “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. That is certainly food for thought.


March 31st, 2015

By Jon Wogen, TBC Board member – printed with permission by the Renville County Register

Many of our people were ice fishing yet last month, but the ice has now gone out. Others are hesitant to fish at all this season as the ice has been “iffy” to say the least. Fear of a sudden bath in ice water has cut down the numbers of people who ice fished this year.

More cars and trucks than usual have gone through the ice, and even ATVs and snowmobiles have gone through the ice. We have even lost people this way.

The cost of retrieving a car or truck from the bottom of a lake is extremely high. Divers are needed in most cases. Special winches are often required and cutting channels in the ice are sometimes necessary; All in all, a bad thing for the car owner.

So, with all the bad news about ice, cars and trucks going into the water, and somewhat poor late winter fishing, we are thinking about open water fishing. Without ice fishing for many people, and the cold winds stopping any enjoyment of being outdoors, cabin fever has set in very seriously.

Boat dealers have been having open houses now that winter is dying. The fishing shows on TV have helped the fishermen to learn new techniques and lures, and they are ready to do some open water fishing.

Nothing can beat actually fishing in open water. If one has the time and incentive to fish in very early spring, the latitude of Interstate 80 across Iowa and Nebraska can be a gateway for open water fishing.

Southern Iowa and Nebraska will have spring by the third week in March most years. At the southern level of these two states, warmth is serious and ice is mostly gone from lakes now. The grass is trying to show some green. Ducks and geese have filtered into this latitude in serious numbers. In Nebraska the Crane migration is in high gear on the Platte River between Grand Island and Kearney.

Trout streams in Iowa and Minnesota are pretty much open for catch and release fishing. In southern Iowa and Nebraska the reservoirs are pretty open and warming now. Fish are about to bite seriously.

All along the I-80 Corridor, “borrow ponds” are clearing of ice if not already and will produce fishing for interested fishermen. A person can combine a bird watching trip to the Platte River with some fishing in the borrow pits or ponds all along the highway there.

One more possibility for early open water fishing, including for trout is at Lake Ogallala, north of Ogallala, Nebraska north of I-80. Below the earthen dam on Lake McConaughy, there is a large “borrow pit” lake where soil was used for the earth dam. The Kingsley Dam is used for releasing water for irrigation and electric power generation. This lake has some seepage of water through the dam so it doesn’t freeze up very hard some years. And, where seepage water moves into the lake, there is usually open water where trout can be caught on small flies early in the spring. I have had some good luck fishing there in March. The trout weren’t very large, only about 14 inches in length but do they feel good on the fly rod when you haven’t fished for months in open water.

Lake Ogallala has catfish, trout, wipers and almost every other variety of fish in it. Camping is allowed on both sides of this small lake also. There are always some early fishermen camping at this little lake in March.

Another option for early spring trout fishermen is Western South Dakota. The Rapid City area has the best trout stream in the Black Hills area running through it. Rapid Creek flows from the high country in the Black Hills, through Pactola Lake, and down to Rapid City. As it flows into Rapid City, it passes through a small reservoir called Canyon Lake.

The creek and the lake both produce great trout fishing. The ice should be off Canyon Lake by the third week in March so fishing can be done in the little lake or in the creek.

How about it? Are you sick of cabin fever and ice fishing that you didn’t do because you didn’t want to have a cold bath in the lake? Are you ready to try fishing in warmer open water where the climate is already trying to be spring? Southern Iowa has reservoirs. Northeast Iowa has good trout streams that are always open. The south half of Nebraska is coming alive with spring as we talk here. South Dakota is warming and the trout are getting hungry.

Another option is below dams on the Missouri river running through South Dakota. It seems that most fishermen want walleyes and go to Chamberlain, South Dakota by way of I-90 from Worthington to Chamberlain. Boats can be brought along or you can hire a guide for a day or two out there. This is colder than the previous places we have mentioned for open water fishing as it is farther north than most of the others except the Rapid City area. The current on the Missouri keeps the ice thin or off large areas of the river. There is lots of history to study on that river also. Lewis and Clark left quite a legacy of exploration in 1803 that you can learn about while out there.

Having trouble with cabin fever? Go Fishing in open water.


Sven said he saw this on a tombstone: “WAIT, THERE’S MORE!