Kinnickinnic River Land Trust to host nature, health, and equity events

New initiative seeks to break down barriers to nature’s many benefits.




2 minute read

The Kinnickinnic River (KRLT)

Living into the belief that access to nature is an essential human need, the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT) and the University of Wisconsin Sustainability Office are hosting two events to help bridge the gap between nature, health, and equity. The Kinnickinnic River Watershed is just thirty minutes southeast of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro region and a tributary of the St Croix River Watershed. As a greater community, we can work together to make sure ALL enjoy the benefits of nature.

Outdoors for All! A Community Conversation about Nature, Health, and Equity is a half-day event on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  The event is free, and one can attend virtually or in person, though registration is required. Trails for All People: Creating & Managing Universally Accessible Trails Workshop is a two-day workshop on October 19 & 20. There is a $50 registration fee and only in person. Participants will be taken through an inclusive community design process to design and construct pedestrian trails that are usable by all. Registration for both events is at or call the KRLT office at 715-425-5738 for more information.

“We are in the early phase of an eighteen-month conversation about the importance of nature for health and well-being,” said Steve Leonard, Executive Director of KRLT.  “Far too many people have barriers that those who work in conservation and environmental education are just starting to understand.  We must do a better job of listening at a local level before we jump into presumptions and actions.”

The health benefits are well documented regarding humans and the natural world.  Yet, statistically, significant populations are marginalized from nature due to socio-economics barriers, disabilities, age, race, and a wide variety of safety concerns.  Being connected to nature means so many things beyond camping, hiking or paddling, and it includes the view out a window that can bring the outdoors in, being able to experience a viewing platform in a wooded area, having a backyard pollinator garden, taking a walk through a community green space or a hike (or ride) near the river, time and space to explore a small pond, and so much more. 

On October 18, KRLT and other organizations would like to hear from marginalized communities about what barriers they face when accessing nature. We encourage people locally, throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro region, and the St. Croix Watershed to participate virtually or in person and share their stories. It is the beginning of a listening process to learn together so ALL can experience nature. 

The October 19 & 20 workshop Trails for All People is one possible solution. Trail experiences can be several backyards in a neighborhood, outdoor areas in an urban setting, or meandering through a natural area. It’s an opportunity for community groups, municipalities, park committees, and other organizations to learn how to actively engage marginalized audiences in the design process for accessible trails. 

Learn more and register at or call KRLT at 715-425-5738.


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Kinnickinnic River Land Trust to host nature, health, and equity events