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Kallestad column: Get out and enjoy summer

Editor's note: To introduce Beth Kallestad to our readers, we have run her new column on back-to-back weeks. After today, her column will appear on the Outdoor page every fourth Thursday of the month.

Summer is here and with it come many opportunities to explore and enjoy the Cannon River watershed. We are fortunate to have numerous trails for hiking, biking and boating right in our backyard.

Venturing out into the various landscapes and seeing the area from different vantage points --like on the seat of my bike or in a canoe -- helps deepen my appreciation and love for this beautiful place.

There are two state parks in the watershed -- Big Woods in Nerstrand and Sakatah Lake in Waterville.

A day or season pass from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is all you need to experience these wonderlands. See if you can find the Hidden Falls waterfall on Prairie Creek at Big Woods or hear the hills sing on the Sakatah Singing Hills bike trail that runs through the Sakatah Lake park.

Have you been to the Bullhead Capital of the World yet? If not stop in Waterville and spend a leisurely day fishing on Sakatah or Tetonka lakes. Or check out the hidden gems of Fish Lake or Roemhildts Lake in Le Sueur County.

Not to be outdone, the eastern section of the watershed boasts the Cannon Valley Trail from Cannon Falls to Red Wing. Revel in the bluffs, woods and hills as you look for eagles and the great blue heron.

County parks also provide excellent no-cost opportunities for hiking. Check with your county to find the ones near you.

Not only are there trails for hiking and biking, but there are water trails as well. Grab the canoe or kayak and hop in -- the water is great!

The DNR has maps, water level information, conditions, etc. on its Web site at www.mndnr.gov/ watertrails. Check out the Cannon River, Straight River or both.

I hope that you get a chance to get out and enjoy the wonders of nature this summer. Please consider sharing your pictures with the Cannon River Watershed Partnership for use on our Web site, publications or a future calendar. Contact me at beth@crwp.net or (507) 786-3913.

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