Be safe, courteous on Austin’s many trails

Published 5:49 pm Saturday, May 9, 2015

With the nice weather and more bicycles out on our roads and trails, please slow down and share the road with them.

According to the Mayo Clinic, virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to weightlifting, can act as a stress reliever. Austin has 14 miles of walk/bike trails within our city limits.

Enjoy the experience. You can find a trail map on our city website at, as well as the following guidelines:

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Trails (or paths) for non-motorized use have become very popular resulting in congested and potentially hazardous situations.

Regardless of whether you are bicycling, walking, jogging, or skating, if you follow the same set of rules as everyone else, your trip will be safer and more enjoyable. Help make the multi-use trails safe for everyone by using the following guidelines:

•Be courteous.

•Be predictable by traveling in a consistent manner

•Don’t block the trail.

•Keep to the right of the trial

•Pass on the left.

•When stopping move off the trail.

•Give audible warning before passing.

•Obey all traffic signs and signals

•Use lights at night,

•Don’t use a trail under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

•Be respectful of private property.

•And please clean up litter by not leaving any.

Bird watching

Spring bird watching will begin this month, starting Tuesday and May 19 at 6:30 a.m. Meet in the Nature Center parking lot and hike the trails for about an hour and a half to see a variety of colorful migrating birds. Binoculars will be provided upon request only.  This event is co-sponsored by the Austin Audubon.

 Sola Fide

Are you interested in learning more about the stars? The Sola Fide Observatory scheduled viewing nights at 9 p.m. in May are the 16th and 23rd. From Interstate 90, take Highway 218 south for two and a half miles to County Road 28. Turn right (west) and go one mile to stop sign and turn left (south) on County Road 29 for one and a half miles to 180th Street. Turn right and go west for a quarter mile. The driveway is on the right.

The viewings are free to the public. Check out the website at

 Summer activities

If you have not signed your children up for summer activities it is not too late. We have lots of opportunities for available for all ages. You will also find information on Nature Center classes as well as area sports or non-sports camps. If you do not have a child in school the information is also available at

 Nature play

The Nature Center will again offer Nature Play Afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. on eight Thursdays and one Friday this summer beginning June 11 with Doug Elliott, storyteller and naturalist. Seniors register and mark your calendar as well to join in on the Summer Senior Specials on those same select Thursday mornings and one special Friday beginning June 11. The second annual Water Festival will be July 6 to July 10.

Did you know that you can book a private tour using the trail access vehicle? You must pre-schedule a minimum of four days in advance to check availability and trail conditions. Please call 507-437-7519.


Our most popular pavilions are filling up fast for summer rentals. If you are planning a family or friends get-together, remember to call our office soon to secure your park pavilion location. The Ruby Rupner Auditorium located at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center is also a rentable venue.  For information on availability please call the center at 507-437-7519.

Happy Mothers Day.