RICE -- For five consecutive years one of the premiere outdoor events is coming to central Minnesota.

Take a Day Off, held at Mississippi River Park, allows people in the Benton and Stearns County area see what the local parks have to offer.

Kimberly Thielen-Cremers is the Central Minnesota Mississippi River Renaissance Coordinator. She says this event helps people get hands-on outdoor experience.

"Our goal is to offer families, youth, an opportunity to come on out and experience a lot of great outdoor recreational activities."

Many events like: canoeing, fishing, nature hikes, river tours and archery gives people a chance to see what their county parks can offer.

They also had a historical site tour, native prairie tours and special canoe trips down the Mississippi River.

However, there was another special event held today, The Minnesota State Water Trails  celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

Mark Hauck is the Community Assistance Specialist for the Minnesota DNR. He tells us how the program got started, "It started in 1963, and was a vision of a few people, that really convinced the Governor at that time, to designate some of the routes for canoeing, kayaking and recreation."

Take a Day Off focuses on the fact that people don't have to travel miles to find a good park. People just need to see what is in there own back yard.

"There are so many people that don't realize the wonderful county parks that we have here locally," says Thielen-Cremers. "You don't need to drive 50 miles to go to a park system, we have them right here in Stearns and Benton County."


Eric Altena shows spectators about local fish in our rivers. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)