While social distancing orders are in effect across Minnesota and Wisconsin many local residents have re-discovered their love of activities that aren’t done in groups. For some these activities may be hobbies around the house, but for many, it’s been all about getting out into nature via regional parks and trails.
Recently the Rochester Post Bulletin published an article on the subject, even talking to some Winonans about turning to nature during this trying time.
Reporter John Molseed writes, “The prairies, forests and bluffs in Southeast Minnesota look like they should in early spring, and Sunshine Wilson, of Winona, said she couldn’t be happier about that.” Molseed found Wilson and son Samuel, and daughter Khya at Great River Bluffs State Park, on Friday in the hours before Governor Walz’s stay at home orders went into effect.
Wilson tells Molseed, “In nature, we find everything as we expect it… Everything is nice and normal out here — it relieves stress and anxiety.” She also tells the reporter that they had been exploring many area parks throughout the past weeks. Molseed writes, “the three explored Beaver Creek, Whitewater and Great River Bluffs state parks, as well as Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.”
Since schools had been already closed across the area, Samuel, 11, had a studious take on the family’s recent adventures, telling Molseed, “I feel like I learn as much here as I do in school.” He also shows the reporter his knowledge of the area, briefly explaining the natural history of the Driftless Area as a region that wasn’t hit by the glacial flows during the last ice age.
The Post Bulletin reporter finishes his column with an update concerning how parks and trails are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, warning those wishing to get outside that it is not necessarily business as usual. After touching on the 6-foot social distancing requirements, he writes, “Campgrounds and lodging, and day-use facilities, such as enclosed picnic shelters, are closed at all state parks, state recreation areas and state forests. The DNR is waiving all cancellation and modification fees through May 1. The DNR also canceled naturalist programs and closed the state park and recreation area visitor centers, contact stations, and other non-essential buildings. Some bathrooms will remain open to accommodate daytime visitors.”
You can read the full article here
Want to take a look at some of the area state parks? Follow this link to find virtual tours.