Recreational opportunities aboundActivities that enhance leisure time and promote healthy living are available for people of all ages and inclinations. Whether you prefer a team sport or a solitary activity, indoors or outdoors, recreational or competitive - there's something to do.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
Activities that enhance leisure time and promote healthy living are available for people of all ages and inclinations. Whether you prefer a team sport or a solitary activity, indoors or outdoors, recreational or competitive - there's something to do.
Many of the activities are organized by Red Wing Community Recreation, a joint powers organization created in 1996 by the city and the Red Wing School District. The board includes representation from the City Council, School Board and staff.
Located on Main Street in the heart of downtown, the Red Wing YMCA was first formed as a Bible study group for young men in 1869. An 1875 membership drive resulted in 59 members who paid $1 each to join. In 1909, James Lawther gave $51,000 to construct a YMCA at the present location. Summer camp at Camp Pepin began in 1924.
Today's building was built in three phases. In 2001, a $7.5 million expansion renovation project was completed. Current membership totals almost 6,000 members.
The Red Wing YMCA has three gymnasiums, a 25-yard lap pool, a rec pool with water slide, a Wellness Center with cardiovascular machines and weight-lifting equipment, studios for all kinds of fitness classes, saunas, a whirlpool, and areas for teens. For more, go online to www.redwingymca.org or call (651) 388-4724.
In addition to the YMCA's two pools, Red Wing offers:
• Colvill Aquatic Center, located at Colvill Park, 480 Nymphara Lane. The pool, which is open June through August, has two water slides, a zero-depth entry, a tot water feature, a sand play area, deck chairs, sun umbrellas and a concession stand. Call (651) 388-9234.
• Twin Bluff Middle School pool, operated by Red Wing School District. In addition to serving the local swimming and diving team, Twin Bluff plays host to a synchronized swimming club and community swimming lessons. Contact Community Recreation at (651) 385-4645.
There are two courses within the city limits.
• Mississippi National Golf Links, 409 Golf Links Drive, is municipally owned and operated by a private entity. The course has 36 holes - 6,282 yards in the Highlands (1999) and 6,484 yards in the Lowlands (1986) - and a driving range. Call (651) 388-1874.
• Red Wing Golf Club, 1311 W. Sixth St., is an 18-hole course with 6,200 yards. It's been in business here since 1915. Call (651) 388-9524.
A third local course, owned by the Prairie Island Indian Community, is Mount Frontenac Golf Course. Located at 32420 Ski Road just southeast of Red Wing in Frontenac, it has 18 holes with 6,160 yards. Built in 1982, the course overlooks Lake Pepin.
• Red Wing Skateboard Park is located next to Pottery Pond on Levee Road near Bay Point Park. The local Rotary Club helped build the facility.
• Nybo's Lanes, which has served league bowlers for 60 years, is located at 233 Withers Harbor Drive. Several hours each week are dedicated to open bowling. It's a 20-lane bowling center with automatic scoring. Call (651) 388-3597.
• Treasure Island Resort & Casino is the first casino in Minnesota to offer a bowling alley. Island Xtreme Bowl, a 24-lane Brunswick alley, opened the fall of 2008 and includes an arcade, lounge, snack bar and separate party rooms.
• Cannon Valley Trail, which winds along a flowing river, offers a picturesque escape from the bustling city for biking, walking, hiking, skateboarding, in-line skating, and winter skiing. The 19.7-mile paved trail links Red Wing to Cannon Falls on the former Chicago Northwestern Railroad line. At the midpoint is the Welch Station, where programs are held on summer weekends.
• Hay Creek Trail runs along the creek from Levee Road to Pioneer Road and beyond. This trail now connects to the Cannon Valley Trail and eventually will connect to the Pioneer Trail that goes through Goodhue, 13 miles away.
• Bay Point Park and Colvill Park also have trails open to skaters and walkers.
• Barn Bluff, also known as Mount LaGrange, is one of the popular spots for rock climbers. Those with the proper equipment frequently scale the steep eastern face. There are steps and easy slopes for the average citizen. The summit offers panoramic views.
Climbers and hikers can access the bluff from East Fifth Street.
• Memorial Park is typically reached via automobile off East Seventh Street. However, some foot trails weave up to the top and can be accessed at a variety of deadend streets at the foot of the bluff.
• Coon Hill, which is near Twin Bluff Middle School and Red Wing Golf Course, has some pleasant walking trails.
• The Mississippi River at Red Wing is Minnesota's only year-round angling paradise. The river doesn't freeze because the Prairie Island nuclear plant discharges enough warm water to keep ice away.
The river, including its wide spot - Lake Pepin - provides anglers with one of the most fertile fisheries in the Upper Midwest. A selection of more than 20 game fish and 85 species attracts anglers from throughout the country.
The list of fish is fairly extensive, including walleye, sauger, white bass, northern pike, black crappie, bluegill, small and bigmouth buffalo, freshwater drum and channel catfish.
No fewer than four state record fish have been caught in this area of the Mississippi, including a 38-pound channel catfish and a 9-pound, 13-ounce walleye sauger hybrid. In 2000, a 53-inch, 50-pound sturgeon was pulled from the waters.
• Bay Point Park has a handicap-accessible pier off its east end.
• Pottery Pond is stocked with bass and bluegills. The 4-acre pond is near Bay Point Park off Levee Road. A handicap-accessible wooden pier juts into the pond.
• Colvill Park has some handy spots when people can fish off the riverbank.
• Indoors, Bergwall Arena and Prairie Island Arena have open "ice" for skating. Beginning at the end of September, public skating is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Prairie Island Arena. Call Community Recreation at (651) 385-4565 or visit the Web at www.rwcomedrec.org for the current schedule; or check the skating hotline at (651) 385-4569. Skate rentals are available.
• Outdoor skating rinks are flooded in the winter when conditions and budgets allow. Warming houses are available at South Park, Bluffview Park, A.P. Anderson Park and The Athletic Field. There also are several neighborhood rinks without warming houses.
• Cross-country skiers can enjoy the Cannon Valley Trail.
• Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area has 60 runs, eight chairlifts and 140 acres of skiable terrain for skiing and snowboarding. Go to www.welchvillage.com for details or call (651) 258-4567.
• The area also offers snowmobile trails.