‘Bikes, Boot, or Boat’ in Mower this year

Published 1:01 pm Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mower County has the state attractions to help anyone seeking to compile 125 miles by “Bike, Boot or Boat” this year in celebration of Minnesota’s parks and trails program.

Minnesotans are encouraged to participate in a 125-mile challenge as part of the 125th anniversary of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ state parks and trails. Under the challenge, people of all ages can track the miles they cover at Minnesota state parks and trails throughout 2016.

DNR officials are hopeful the 125th anniversary events statewide will encourage new people to discover the state parks and trails. Almost every Minnesotan has a state park, trail or water trail within 30 minutes of their home, which is true for Mower County residents.

Email newsletter signup

Mower Soil & Water Conservation District and the Austin Convention & Bureau, which promotes tourism countywide, are encouraging residents and visitors to explore the local attractions as part of the challenge. Both are asking to hear from people who complete the challenge partly or completely through the use of Mower County’s state parks and trails.

“This challenge is another great reason to get outdoors as much as possible this year with your friends or family to enjoy our beautiful natural resources, whether that be in Mower County or elsewhere in Minnesota,” said Tim Ruzek, Mower SWCD outreach coordinator, in a press release.

According to the DNR, “Bike” miles consist of those from bicycling while “Boot” covers miles earned by walking, hiking, running, rolling, skating, skiing, snowshoeing and horseback riding. “Boat” covers only canoeing, kayaking and standup paddle boarding—not motorized boating.

In Mower County, there are several options to complete state park and trail miles. The Shooting Star State Trail runs for 22 miles from LeRoy going west through Taopi, Adams and Rose Creek, which offers many opportunities to compile bicycling miles for the challenge. Boot miles can also be earned on the trail by walking, running, inline skating and cross-country skiing. Lake Louise State Park in LeRoy offers both boot and boat miles. The Cedar River State Water Trail, which runs through Austin, is another option for boat miles as well.

Mileage tracking sheets are available online through the DNR or locally at the Mower SWCD, 1408 21st Ave. NW, and the new Austin Convention & Visitor’s Bureau office at the U.S. Bank building at 301 N. Main St., Suite 101. Those who reach at least 125 miles will get bragging rights, an exclusive “Finisher” sticker and a chance to have their photo included in a Finishers Gallery on the DNR’s 125-mile challenge website.