The Riverview Cafe was the gathering place for neighbors March 9th for the monthly Transition on Tap event. This month's topic was the Mississippi River, the defining natural feature of our south Minneapolis neighborhood. While Andrew Marotz from the Mississippi Park Connection was scheduled to lead the conversation, Andrew was unable to attend. To our benefit, thanks to Mike Lynch from the Longfellow Community Council's River Gorge Committee who was in attendance who provided great information about the river, efforts and opportunities to protect and restore the river habitat.
Restoration activities have included annual events and projects such as Earth Day (this year April 18th) clean up/trash pickup, native species plantings, invasive species removal, and LCC's annual July Share the River Gorge Ice Cream Social (this year July 23rd). The River Gorge Committee has been partnering with other organizations as well, such as Friends of the Mississippi River to protect this natural habitat.
In addition to restoration, the river is a place to explore and discover natural spaces, learn history and enjoy outdoor activities. Destinations close to home include Mill City Museum, Mill City Farmer's Market, Upper St Anthony Lock and Dam, St Anthony Falls, Bohemian Flats (where river cruise boats dock), Bdode/Fort Snelling, Fort Snelling State Park, and Coldwater Spring. There are many choices of outdoor activity, including nature walks, running, biking, canoeing, and kayaking. Self guided tours also allow you to explore the original Minneapolis Waterworks, or Nicollet Island. National Park Service staff can provide information and interpretation through various programs as well as at the park visitor's center at the Science Museum in downtown St Paul.
Local organizations offer canoeing experiences or kayaking equipment to help you explore the river. Other organizations offer a myriad of ways to get involved through volunteer activities. Here is a list of a few of these organizations:
-- Longfellow Community Council (river gorge protection and planning efforts)
-- Friends of the Mississippi River (planting and invasive species removal projects)
-- Mississippi Park Connection (planting projects, river based learning assistants for K-12 groups, St Anthony Lock & Dam visitor guides)
-- Paddleshare (program of Mississippi River Connection, kayak rental)
-- Wilderness Inquiry (group canoeing excursions, other outdoor programs for children and adults including programs aimed at making nature accessible to all)
-- Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (part of the National Park Service, oversees the 72 mile park with partner agencies)
Longfellow is home to a great and unique natural habitat that includes original prairie, oak savannah, etc. All of it is just outside your door, footsteps away, and waiting for you to explore in all four seasons. Enjoy!