Tag Archives: Hidden Valley Park

City installs pet waste signs at entrances to Hidden Valley Park

At a recent Valley Pond Townhome Association meeting (where I live), we discussed whether the Association should pay to have the City of Northfield install one or more pet waste stations (example here) along the trail in Hidden Valley Park

The Board decided that a better first step would be to ask the City to install "Please Clean Up After Your Pet" signs to see if that solved the problem.

pet waste sign at entrance to Hidden Valley Park Robbie Wigley, inserting pet waste bags on sign Robbie Wigley, inserting pet waste bags on sign
A couple weeks ago a City crew installed signs at the three entrances/exits to the park. Our Association cost: $54.  Robbie has been stuffing pet waste bags into the holes in the signs.  And people are using them.

Cool public/private collaboration, eh?

A backyard campfire: one of my favorite simple pleasures of spring

Outdoor fire pit, Hidden Valley Park  Outdoor fire pit, Hidden Valley Park  
Last night, Robbie and I enjoyed some wine with dinner at our outdoor fire pit in our Valley Pond Townhome Association backyard for the first time this spring. It was a perfect spring evening: warm, clear sky, no wind, no bugs, and a symphony of nature sounds coming from Hidden Valley Park.

Enjoying food and conversation in front of a campfire makes me feel rich, even though it can be done very cheaply.

What are some of your favorite spring-related simple pleasures?  Get some ideas here: 75 Simple Pleasures to Brighten Your Day.

City Parks Department cuts down noxious trees in the stormwater ponds

noxious trees cut down, Hidden Valley Park, Northfield noxious trees cut down, Hidden Valley Park, Northfield noxious trees cut down, Hidden Valley Park, Northfield
I’m not sure when it happened exactly but some time in the past few weeks, a crew from the City of Northfield Streets, Parks & Facilities Divisions mowed down all the noxious trees at the south end of the pond in Hidden Valley Park. There were hundreds of small trees there, blocking the view of the pond for those of us who live on the south end.  The trees also inhibit the pond’s stormwater function.

A tip-of-the-blogger-hat to Street & Park Supervisor TJ Heinricy and his staff for doing this at several parks.

Photos: pond hockey rocks

pond hockey in Hidden Valley Park pond hockey in Hidden Valley Park pond hockey in Hidden Valley Park

I don’t know if my Xmas Eve post (Looking for a place to ice skate outdoors? Consider the pond in Hidden Valley Park) had anything to do with it but a game of  hockey broke out on the pond in Hidden Valley Park yesterday afternoon.

It was classic neighborhood pond hockey: shoes for goal posts, goalies in their shoes, no checking, no raising the puck, no one bothering to keep score, lots of smiles.

pond hockey in Hidden Valley Park pond hockey in Hidden Valley Park pond hockey in Hidden Valley Park

Looking for a place to ice skate outdoors? Consider the pond in Hidden Valley Park

Ice rink at Way Park Cannon River above the Ames Mill Dam  the hockey rink next to the Northfield Ice Arena 
It’s not only the lack of snow that’s plaguing us. It’s also been too warm to make decent ice for outdoor rinks.  As of yesterday, the City’s neighborhood ice rinks weren’t skatable. Witness the rink at Way Park above. The Cannon River above the Ames Mill dam looked skatable for those looking to either win a Darwin Award or to be ticketed by the Northfield Police. Your only option for outdoor hockey: the hockey rink next to the Northfield Ice Arena, as the two hockey rinks at Carleton College aren’t yet skatable.

Ice on the pond in Hidden Valley Park Ice on the pond in Hidden Valley Park Ice on the pond in Hidden Valley Park
However, the stormwater pond in Hidden Valley Park in my backyard is near-perfect for ice skating. Some of my visiting relatives took a tour on foot yesterday afternoon.

Snowmobilers in the city limits. An isolated incident?

snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park

snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park
On Sunday night, two snowmobiles went through Hidden Valley Park where it abuts the back yards of the Valley Pond townhouses on the south edge of the pond.  They then cut through the back yards of two of our neighbors. I took the above photos of the snowmobile tracks yesterday afternoon.

Robbie phoned the Northfield Police Department’s non-emergency number to report the incident.  The person she spoke mentioned that city ordinance did allow for snowmobile use within the city limits to get to and from designated snowmobile trails.  So I checked the Northfield municipal code and found out that it’s pretty restrictive. These sleds were definitely in violation:

Sec. 78-207. – Unlawful operation.

It is unlawful for any person to operate a snowmobile, for recreational purposes, within the city, except as provided in section 78-208.

(Code 1986, § 735:05)

Sec. 78-208. – Lawful operation.

It shall be lawful to operate a snowmobile within the city only when:

(1) Traveling to or from designated snowmobile trails on roadways designated to travel to and from designated snowmobile trails. Those roadways are Maple Street, Ames Street, Jefferson Road, roadways which run parallel to any railroad tracks and any roadway that is the most direct route to such streets, on the ditch bottom or outside of trunk county state aid and county highways when highways are within the city;

(2) Operating at speeds not to exceed 20 miles per hour; and

(3) Obeying all motor vehicle laws and ordinances.

In the three years we’ve lived here, this is the first time this has happened, to my knowledge.

Is anyone else experiencing problems with snowmobiles within the city limits?

Any members of the Waterford Warriors Snowmobile Club reading this blog who could comment about the club’s rider education and self-policing efforts?

It’s a winter wonderland out there. Get out and enjoy it.

Cross country ski trails in the Lower Carleton Arb Cross country ski trails in the Lower Carleton Arb Cross country ski trails in the Lower Carleton Arb Cross country ski trails in the Upper Carleton Arb
It was heaven on the cross country ski trails in the Carleton Arb yesterday morning. The college has groomed some trails for skate-skiing in the Upper Arb and some for Nordic skiing in the Lower Arb.  And of course, there are many places to go off the groomed trails.

Snowshoe and ski trails around Hidden Valley Park Snowshoe and ski trails around Hidden Valley Park Snowshoe and ski trails around Hidden Valley Park Snowshoe and ski trails around Hidden Valley Park
Like many people in Northfield fortunate to live adjacent to one of our fabulous City parks, those of us in the Valley Pond Townhome Association can go out our back doors and snowshoe and ski around Hidden Valley Park.

City of Northfield: taking care of our urban grasslands

Workers from Prairie Restorations Bird’s foot trefoil
Last Thursday, I noticed a crew of three workers walking around Hidden Valley Park pond spraying. I chatted with one who said they were from Prairie Restorations, under contract with the City of Northfield.

They were killing Bird’s foot trefoil, described on their website as an exotic species of wildflower. 

In some cases exotic species find just the right niche and become highly competitive with native species already in place, reducing diversity and upsetting stable communities of both plants and animals.

See the Wikipedia for more about Bird’s-foot Trefoil. And see the Prairie Restorations blog for lots more about their recent activities in restoring prairies around Minnesota.

Natural Resources Inventory - Northfield MN 2005Like the spring burning back in April, it’s great to see the City of Northfield and its Streets, Parks & Facilities Division taking such good care of our urban grasslands.

See the 2005 City of Northfield Natural Resource Inventory report for more on our urban environment.

Photo album: spring burn, Hidden Valley Park

I woke up from my nap to the smell of smoke yesterday afternoon. A crew hired by the City of Northfield was doing a controlled burn of Hidden Valley Park. (The park is surrounded on three sides by the units of the Valley Pond Townhome Association where Robbie and I live.)

See the album of 16 photos (8 fire, 8 post-fire), the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:

Continue reading Photo album: spring burn, Hidden Valley Park