Even though summer is fading into autumn, there is no shortage of outdoor excursions in Stevens Point.
Three locals offered ideas on what students can partake in. Not only did they agree the outdoors is invigorating, but that it also revitalizes a person from the daily stresses of life.
Interestingly enough, all three marveled that Stevens Point possesses excellent foliage during autumn months, which serves as the backdrop for discoveries and lasting memories.
“From the standpoint of beauty, the foliage on the trees is pretty high class,” said Carl Knuese, owner of Campus Cycle & Sports Shop, LLC.
Autumn is a wonderful time to venture outside and cycle.
“I think fall is the best time for cycling. Temperatures are better, beauty in nature is better and the chance of seeing wildlife is great,” Knuese said.
Stevens Point fosters a healthy environment for cyclists because the city is smaller, the quality of the outdoors is phenomenal and there is a general lack of pollution, Knuese said. In addition, he said most drivers are respectful of cyclists.
“For my personal use, I think the Green Circle is one of the finest in the state because you have everything from beautiful nature trails to slightly technical areas to river scenery and wildlife,” Knuese said.
The Green Circle Trail is 26 miles long and encases much of the city.
Knuese is not the only Stevens Point local who admires the Green Circle Trial. Tom Schrader, director of Parks and Recreational Services of Stevens Point, said his beloved autumn activity is embarking out on the Green Circle Trail.
“It’s interesting because every section is a bit different,” Schrader.”You have everything from an urban setting to rock formations along the Wisconsin River and 100-year-old white pines in the river pines section.”
Not only are the outdoors meant to be played in, but they have benefits that stretch beyond recreation. All three locals witnessed nature’s emotional impacts on individuals who immerse themselves in it.
“I have witnessed the joy in people’s eyes when they are on the Green Circle Trail,” Schrader said. “They say ‘hi’ and ‘how’s it going’ and you can tell they are out enjoying the outdoors.”
“You can’t beat fresh air,” Knuese said. “Certainly for removing stress, you can’t beat cycling.”
Mike Piekenbrock, recreational activities coordinator for Outdoor Edventures, said there were too many benefits to list to being outdoors. He said it draws individuals together through friendships and they develop a degree of introspection.
“Being in nature has natural cathartic qualities and I think by going out and exploring, you’ll get to know yourself more deeply, and with friend you’ll build stronger bonds rather than sitting in front of a TV,” Piekenbrock said.
Piekenbrock enjoys paddling and said students who lack transportation can rent a kayak or canoe from Outdoor Edventures. They can walk it to Lake Joanis and paddle out to the island situated in the middle of the lake.
For students who possess a vehicle, the Plover River is an excellent place to paddle because it contains areas for all skill levels. His favorite stretch of the Plover River is Jordan Park to Iverson Park.
“There are mazes and down trees you need to scout out before you paddle,” Piekenbrock said. “I like it because it’s a section of the river that asks enough of me that I need to stay engaged. I can’t completely turn my brain off and float.”
The rivers and trails in Stevens Point are connected to one another in a larger system which brings people joy. In a way, it is just like the friendships that are created while admiring the local outdoors.