Embrace the Outdoors During National Park Week

Alright Minnesnowtans, I know it’s mid-April and we are in the midst of a snowstorm, but I promise you sunshine and adventure is ahead, so hang in there!

Take a minute to close your eyes. Picture the warmth of the sun; hear the birds chirping; remember the breezy freeness of biking our trails and hiking our bluffs—you’re craving a refreshing outdoor journey, am I right? Good news: National Park Week is coming up, so start planning your adventures!

April 20-28, more than 2,000 national parks, forests, wildlife refugees, and other federal lands will offer free admittance to everyone. Take on the snow and fresh air, embrace nature, and soak up education at one of our national parks. Check out nps.gov to get in on the action.

The Mississippi River Fund is also taking this week to encourage locals to participate in outdoor activities around the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area this spring and summer.

Check out the five ways the Mississippi River Fund is suggesting visitors and residents get outdoors: 

Photo by Todd Buchanan

1. Bike with a National Park Ranger
Head out on two wheels with a National Park Ranger, listening to stories and exploring trails along the Mississippi River. Saturdays, starting in June, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

2. Tour with a Ranger on Call
Listen to the voices of Don Shelby, local news anchor, voiceover artist Pam Henry, and Errol Edwards, former vice president of the board of directors of the West Side Citizens Organization, as they narrate a free phone tour, acting as your virtual guide. Choose from various locations at select Nice Ride Minnesota stations. Available anytime.

3. See Coldwater Spring
Considered Minnesota’s first American settlement, Coldwater Spring is a 10,000 year old landmark, offering culture and history to its visitors. Here you can spot wildlife like white-tailed deer and bald eagles, or just enjoy the land filled with shrubs, wildflowers, and wetlands. Open daily, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

4. Take a trip down the River
In partnership, Wilderness Inquiry and the National Park Service are providing day trips along the Mississippi River. Head out on a 24-foot canoe through the Twin Cities metro, immersing yourself in nature and history. Visit Wilderness Inquiry for available times.

5. Volunteer
There are a variety of ways to get involved, all of which are rewarding, fun, and make a difference!