Short day at McMillan Marsh long on satisfaction

author’s note: this is the original version of a piece I shortened for use in the March 9 issue of the Portage County Gazette

Deer tracks across the marsh

“How long do you think they can run like that?”

The question was posed by my frequent hiking companion Chris Sadler, who for the first time was filling the role of cross-country skiing buddy.

We were watching eight deer streaking across a flat, icy expanse of McMillan Marsh Wildlife Area, about a hundred yards southeast from where we glided along a low dike, heading back to Chris’ car.

The dike road ran between the marsh on our right and the forest on our left, where the Little Eau Pleine River winds about on its way toward an affiliated reserve, the George Mead Wildlife Area, before ultimately draining into Lake DuBay more than 20 miles to our east.

It was a perfect winter day. The midday temperatures were hovering around 10 degrees with westerly and northwesterly winds hitting no more than 10 miles an hour – enough to chill our faces thoroughly but not bring any substantial discomfort.

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Three words for 1,200: Let’s work together

trailsParks, bike paths, sidewalks and other things that encourage us to interact more with our neighbors and the natural world are, simply put, some of the best things communities can do.

Here are a few pictures from a couple of great little neighborhood nature preserves over in Marshfield, a community where good health is a way of life.  As the home of the renowned Marshfield Clinic, the community also knows how good health is good for the economy and business.

I headed out to these parks early last week primarily just to get away from our toxic political environement for a few hours.  Being in these neighborhood jewels — one next to a retirement home, the other in a sleeply suburban neighborhood — gave me plenty of impetus to think over who uses parks and why they’re irreplaceable in community life.

I discuss some of these issues in last week’s Portage County Gazette column (available in full-text form).

(Note: It seems I mistakenly put 7 p.m. instead of 6:30 as the start time for the Nov. 3 Revisioning Point meeting in my original column.  Please pardon my error, which I regret.)

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