Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Reflections During an Enjoyable Bike Ride on the Greater Grand Forks Greenway

On a beautiful evening in early June, I set off on a bike ride along the Greater Grand Forks Greenway trails.  Within the first mile, I passed a floodwall and levee section which set my thoughts in motion for the duration of my ride.  My wife, son, and I moved to Grand Forks in 1996 just in time for the flood of 1997.  The destruction of that one event was counterbalanced and overshadowed by the positive, hard-working people of Grand Forks.  The people and communities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks pulled together to rebuild an even better Greater Grand Forks.  Part of the rebuilding efforts included the establishment of recreation opportunities along the Red River which has come to be known as the Greenway.

As my senses began to take in the sights and sounds, I left behind worries and negative news stories of the day, albeit for just an hour.  I took mental notes of the wonderful opportunities that we are provided within the Greenway, but often take for granted.  Here is a quick list of some of my observations:

  • walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading, or longboarding, people are enjoying the trail system along the greenway; whether solo, with a friend, companion, family or pet
  • passing through Lincoln Golf Course, the course was busy with golfers while a Dad watched his 3 kids golf on the kid’s course
  • crossing the pedestrian bridge over to East Grand Forks, I was appreciative of the increased access to both sides of the river and greenway
  • noticing 3 deer in the distance moving into the woods, I slowed my pace to observe
  • crossing the Red Lake River, I took note of how many people were fishing, not always catching, but enjoying time their time with friends and family
  • biking through Lafave Park, 2 baseball games were being played as parents and teammates cheered
  • passing under the Sorlie Bridge, I looked east beyond the “invisible flood wall” to notice the outdoor areas of the restaurants filled with people eating and enjoying the evening
  • heading north through the Red River State Recreation Area, campers occupied numerous campsites while I noticed the wonderful smell of campfires
  • crossing back over into Grand Forks across another pedestrian bridge, still more people were enjoying fishing near the dam and boat landing
  • riding through Riverside park, people were playing frisbee golf and basketball
  • cruising by the now quiet, but filled Riverside pool, I imagined the pool filled with swimmers, activity, and laughter
  • heading south, I passed the cement pad which will soon hold a structure that will be busy with paddling sport rentals
  • biking past downtown Grand Forks, I thought about the many activities in Town Square including the Farmers Market
  • marking the high water mark of the Red River in 1997, I caught a glimpse of the stone obelisk as a reminder of the flood and subsequent progress
  • buzzing with activity at the dog park, playground, and in picnic shelters, Lincoln Park provides a wonderful setting for a multitude of recreation activities
  • finishing my ride, I took notice of the bird sounds and sights of a well-maintained Greenway

As I concluded my bike ride and recounted the numerous ways people are using the Greenway, I became even more grateful of this treasure we have in Grand Forks.  The floodwall, levee system, and Greenway not only protects our cities, but also provides many recreation opportunities.  Sometime we need to step away from our busyness and attention given to the negative local, state, and national news stories and find time to spend on the Greenway.  As John Muir stated;

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  

On this particular June evening, that was the case for me.  Let us not take for granted what is in our own “backyard.”  The residents of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, and our visitors, should be truly grateful for this wonderful place.

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