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Welcome back: Hundreds celebrate reopening of Ravine Regional Park

Kids compete in the Run the Ravine Fun Run June 24 at the newly renovated Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park. Submitted photo courtesy of Yvonne Klinnert, Washington County 1 / 6
Families got their first look at the new playground June 23 at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park. Washington County and Cottage Grove hosted a weekend of events to celebrate the park reopening. Submitted photo courtesy of Yvonne Klinnert, Washington County2 / 6
Washington County celebrated the reopening of Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park by hosting goat yoga sessions June 23. Submitted photo courtesy of Yvonne Klinnert, Washington County3 / 6
The opening weekend at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park gave visitors their first look at newly restored forests. Submitted photo courtesy of Yvonne Klinnert, Washington County4 / 6
More than 80 runners competed in the Run the Ravine 5K. The June 24 race capped a weekend of events that celebrated the reopening of Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park. Submitted photo courtesy of Yvonne Klinnert, Washington County5 / 6
Runners, walkers and bikers got their first look at trail, landscape and drainage improvements during opening weekend at Ravine Regional Park. Submitted photo courtesy of Yvonne Klinnert, Washington County6 / 6

COTTAGE GROVE - About 85 runners and walkers got their first look at the renovated Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park during the June 24 Run the Ravine 5K.

The race capped a weekend of events that included a craft party Friday and goat yoga sessions Saturday.

The festivities also included a kids' fun run.

The out and back 5K course took runners along the shore of Ravine Lake before snaking its way up through woods that had been stripped of invasive buckthorn and other noxious weeds. Native flora such as burr oak and prairie grass now had room to breathe; you could almost see their green exhale.

The once cracked and cratered trail had been replaced with smooth blacktop, with a few new curves added.

The 515-acre park was closed for more than a year. It now has new entrance at County Road 19/Keats Avenue, additional parking lots, new and repaved trails and a new playground. The South Washington Watershed District also improved the park's drainage system and stabilized the ravine to prevent flooding.

Race director Carol DeBlieck said they reached their registration limit of 100 runners prior to race day. The staff included nearly 40 volunteers from Cottage Grove Random Runners.

"We got a lot of community support, DeBlieck said.

It was unclear if the race will return next year.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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