Dick Herfindahl: It’s a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors

Published 3:33 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

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Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


I am hoping that everyone is still safe and sound and doing their part by social distancing. I have taken some comfort in knowing that after Governor Walz held his latest news conference, the rules really haven’t changed all that much since his last one. I won’t mention the guidelines as by now we have been saturated with information on this virus.

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In looking back to my teen years, I can remember when we were experiencing a flu epidemic that was labeled the Asian Flu. In this day and age that would be called offensive and a totally inappropriate name for that particular epidemic. My how times have changed.

The reason I remember this particular flu is because I had come down with it and believe me, it was a real knockout punch. My mother let me sleep on our couch in the living room and for the first week my only exercise was going from that couch to the bathroom. I was down for two weeks and finally started feeling somewhat better towards the end of the second week. I was to be confirmed the Sunday of the second week and I was bound and determined not to miss that. If I missed it I would have had to do a one on one with our pastor who was pretty much a fire and brimstone preacher, which led me to believe that I would have to answer more than a few questions about the Catechism.

On the day of the big event, I was in church ready to be confirmed. When the time came and we were standing in front of the alter my knees began to buckle because I was still very weak from the flu. I was standing between my good friend Virgil Mielke and on the other side was my classmate Darrel Varland. They each grabbed an arm and kept me from toppling over during the service. I was able to answer the question(s) that I was asked by the pastor and when we were finished they helped me to my seat. The rest of that day is a blur in my memory, but I was sure glad they were there to help me get through it.

I am okay with the way we are to practice social distancing and if we all do our part we can get through this. The one thing I think is good, is that we are encouraged to get outdoors and go for a walk, a run, bike, go fishing and just enjoy the outdoors in general. That is what you can call inexpensive and healthy fun. Now if it would only quit raining, I would actually be a little more excited about getting outdoors.

It is a great time to head to a state park and take advantage of the trails that they have for us to enjoy. We can also take a walk on the Blazing Star Trail or take a walk around the lake. In my columns, I have often encouraged folks to get out and enjoy all of the outdoor opportunities that our area has to offer. Our local State Park (Myre-Big Island) will remain open with some changes during this pandemic.

State park and recreation area changes

State parks, recreation areas, campgrounds and other public lands remain open to the public for people to enjoy. However, visitors will experience some changes in services available. State park visitor centers, contact stations and other ancillary buildings will be closed. With contact stations closed, visitors will pay through self-pay and informational kiosks located at each facility. Visitors are also encouraged to purchase daily and annual park passes through the online portal before they visit.

For the time being, state parks naturalist programs are canceled. They are working to determine which of these programs are compatible with social distancing and will resume naturalist programming to the extent possible. State park bathrooms, vault toilets and shower buildings that are currently open will remain open, with increased cleaning protocols.

I know that I will be doing my fair share of driving around the countryside in the upcoming weeks. This is actually one of my favorite things to do, enjoying the countryside while always on the lookout for wildlife. I really do enjoy our area of the state when it comes to its natural beauty and all of its resources. I actually enjoy doing this very same thing when I am up in Northern Minnesota. Up north might have more wilderness and some different kinds of wildlife to enjoy, but our area has its own beauty and as far as wildlife, you’d be surprised at what you may observe right here in our little area of the state. We also have many WMA’s that are there for anyone to enjoy.

Until next time, stay healthy, wash your hands, keep your distance and take a little time to get outdoors whenever you can.

Please take a few moments to also honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today, also take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have served and those troops that are serving today.