Warroad, Minn. – March 1, 2022 – The 2022 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, held in Minnetonka, highlighted the work of the tourism industry within the state. As part of this conference, the Explore Minnesota Tourism Awards celebrates individuals, organizations and tourism businesses that help to make Minnesota a premier travel destination. These awards were given to a select number of recipients, one of which was the Riverbend Skate Path of Warroad!
The #OnlyinMN award recognizes an iconic business, attraction, or event synonymous with the community or the state. This year, the award was given to the Riverbend Skate Path for the selfless volunteerism of the Riverbender Crew and their dedication to providing free access to all who wish to use it. This Path started on a whim during the COVID Shutdown of December 2020 after a teenage daughter asked her dad and neighbors to connect their rinks around the Warroad River. The community caught wind of this and asked them to extend it so more could enjoy it, and the path grew to 2.5 miles by the end of that season. In 2021-22 season, it grew to become the longest ice-skating trail in the United States at 5.2 miles.
Sarah Homme, Director of Events and Activities for Warroad Community Partners stated, “How this path came to be and how it continues on today exemplifies the very spirit of Minnesota. These dads didn’t set out to create a community-wide path, they just wanted to let their kids skate outside on the river when school and sports were shut down. But when they were asked to extend the path so more could enjoy it, they happily obliged using their own machines, fuel, and time! They weren’t receiving anything for all this, they were just happy to provide the community with a much-needed avenue toward normalcy.”
The nomination for this award was submitted by Warroad Community Partners. This organization recognized the value of the work being done by the Riverbender Crew early on and established the Riverbend Skate Path Maintenance Fund to accept donations for the Path. The 2021-22 season has come to a close and the Riverbend Skate Path will reopen in late 2022 when conditions allow. To learn more about the Riverbend Skate Path, visit riverbendskatepath.com or @riverbendskatepath on Instagram and Facebook.