Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mississippi River Flooding and a Presidential Visit

by Anna Waugh, Project Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

It’s a historic week on the Mississippi River. The epic flooding on the Mississippi River has put most of Saint Paul’s floodplain parks under water and closed Harriet Island, Lilydale Park, Crosby and Hidden Falls. The floodwaters have even covered the Nice Ride station at Fort Snelling State Park's Visitor Center!

Photo Courtesy of Charles Robinson and Nice Ride MN

According to the National Weather Service’s hydrograph, the river will crest tonight at 20.2 feet. Flood stage is anything above 14 feet and is considered in major flood stage at heights above 17 feet. The river is high and dangerous. Small craft are urged to stay off the water.

Because of all of the flooding we’ve moved a lot of our programming upstream and to the top of the bluffs. June 27th's River City Revue, featuring guided tours by artist Andy Sturdevant, will move to the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. June 28th's pontoon boat River Action Volunteer Event will now take place on bikes instead and start from the Boy Scout’s Base Camp in Bloomington.

The river is at its highest point since 1993. It has even dredged up some unusual creatures like this prehistoric clam shell that was seen floating past the Padleford Riverboats this morning!*

As if flooding weren’t exciting enough, President Obama is also in town today conducting a town hall meeting at Minnehaha Falls. The last time a president visited the Falls was Lyndon Johnson almost 50 years ago. When Johnson visited the falls, the City of Minneapolis had to open fire hydrants along Minnehaha Creek to supplement the fall’s natural flow because the city was in drought. That certainly won’t be an issue this time.
Photo Courtesy of MN Historical Society
*Not actually a prehistoric clam, just a play structure from Harriet Island’s playground.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Come Play in the Park!

By Kate Havelin, Community Outreach

Ah! Summer’s here and the living is busy. But this Saturday, let the chores wait and come play in the park.

From 9 AM to noon, this Saturday, June 14th, and the second Saturday of each month through October, the Mississippi River Fund and National Park will have geocaching, scavenger hunts, a make-and-take activity, and a chance for kids to earn a Junior Ranger badge. It’s all part of our Second Saturdays free family fun.

Each Saturday will feature a new theme. This Saturday is all about animals. Deer, fox, eagles, herons, and wild turkeys are some of the wildlife seen at the park. We’ll have Touch and See skins and skeletons and an animal tracks matching game.
Today, when I walked through the park, I spotted a heron flying overhead. I listened and watched as red-winged blackbirds and other birds flitted from tree to tree, chirping and singing. Walking along the gravel path, I noticed two dragonflies, their bluish green bodies almost dazzling, skimming along the path and nearby grasses. Seeing a dragonfly is a simple pleasure—tiny bug bodies with splashy colors and see-through wings. They’re the kind of bugs that can wow a kid.

So this Saturday, come take a walk in the park, try geocaching, try a scavenger hunt, do an easy craft activity. Help your kids earn a Junior Ranger badge. You don’t need reservations—just come ready to play. Let the laundry and lawn wait; this Saturday morning, make some summer memories with your kids.

Coldwater Spring is located at 5601 Minnehaha Park Drive South, between Minnehaha Falls Park and Fort Snelling State Park. You can bike, drive, or take light rail to Coldwater. Limited parking is available, for free in the park, and at meters nearby.