Author Archive | Be Active Outdoors

Stateline Spinners biking group is growing

Stateline Spinners beloit bike (Medium)The Stateline Spinners is a voluntary association of bicyclists in the Beloit, Wisconsin area that enjoy riding together for fun! Their motto is “No rider left behind.” They meet every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning in downtown Beloit to ride together.

They’ve recently complete a map of  great bicycle routes in the Greater Beloit Area. For the first edition there are 33 routes covering urban areas and the picturesque countryside of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.  The maps are available as a book, downloadable pdfs or gpx files.

Be Active Outdoors supports this group by designing their logo, their website, maintaining it and setting up their email database.

Learn more about the Stateline Spinners

Stateline Spinners logo 500 s


Rock Trail Coalition is forging new paths in Beloit area

FINAL_horizBe Active Outdoors recently assisted Rock Trail Coalition with completion of a new website. Learn more about the Rock Trail Coalition and their work in Beloit and Janesville, Wisconsin and surrounding area: Website 

Formed in 1992, the Rock Trail Coalition is a group of volunteers dedicated to the development, maintenance and enjoyment of hiking, biking and recreational trails in Rock County. Rock Trail Coalition is a 501C3 non-profit organization.





Planting new life at Nature At The Confluence

Originally Posted in Nature At The Confluence |South Beloit, Illinois | May 2, 2015 | By Therese Oldenburg

Learn about Nature at The Confluence

We’re working to bring new life and energy to the land where the Rock River and Turtle Creek meet, the confluence. And on this day, we were doing it one tree at a time.

For the fifth year in a row, the Rock River Trail Initiative (RRTI) distributed 10,000 trees in the 11 counties of the Rock River, April 22-24. Chad Pregracke, president of Living Lands and Waters’ One Million Trees program, has donated these trees to the Rock River Trail Initiative and our river. Read more about the Rock River Trail tree project.

Nature and the Confluence South Beloit Oak Tree Planting (1)

I picked up 50 black oak saplings to plant along the river and creek right at the confluence. Talk about hard work! There is 7-10 feet of industrial fill in that area, including foundry sand. A lot of rocks, broken glass and other debris make digging a hole big enough for even a small sapling difficult.

We persevered and got 20 of the largest saplings planted. The rest will be going into a raised bed nursery to spend the summer growing a bit more before planting in the fall.


I planted one of the black oaks right at the spot where I took a picture of South Beloit Mayor Mike Duffy just a week before he passed away in June 2014. Mike was very excited about the Nature at the Confluence project and he was proud to invite the public down to see the beautiful spot on the river at the inaugural “Meet Me At The Confluence” event held June 13-14, 2014.

Nature and the Confluence South Beloit Oak Tree Planting (2)While digging the hole for “Mike’s” tree I unearthed an intact shot glass. I thought that was positive sign that Mike was toasting this project from the “other side”. After planting that tree and giving it a drink of water, I asked Mike to watch over it. It will truly be a miracle if these trees grow and thrive in this poor soil, but we hope for the best!

Today, before heading out to plant the trees, I read the Beloit Daily News and found this poem written by John Kalkirtz, recently retired executive director of the Grinnell Hall senior center in Beloit.  I think it’s very appropriate to share it here.
Grandma’s Wisdom
by John Kalkirtz
Life is of balance.
Look to nature.
See the trees.Green leaves give us oxygen, shade and shelter.
Green leaves randomly fall to the ground.They decay.
They return to the earth.
The cycle of life continues.We may ask as to why the leaf must fall?
The answer comes in the whisper of the wind.
It is time.We are of nature.
We have gifts to share with one another.
We are a part of the balance and harmony of life.When one soul leaves this life and enters.
All are one in the harmony of life.
We are one.Reprinted from Beloit Daily News, May 2, 2015

Nature-based outdoor environments gain momentum

We share this article about a new “nature-based playground” that will be built in Midland, Michigan.

November 29, 2014 – Railway Family Center receives funding for ‘nature-based playground – From the Midland Daily News – Midland, MI – Read original story

Nature At The Confluence South Beloit WIllowbrook School children (14)The movement from traditional playground structures to nature-based outdoor environments for children has been gaining momentum over the past decade across the country. With new research on environment, childhood obesity, horticultural therapy, participation rates, bullying, injury rates and more, these play spaces offer an inclusive alternative to traditional playgrounds.

“Play is vital to the development of children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development, as well as creativity and imagination,” said Misty Janks, Railway executive director. “This new style of playground will be more stimulating and exciting for children and reintroduces them to nature. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to get kids outside and keep them active in a learning environment that’s fun.”

A nature playground has plants that are native to North America. All flowers, trees, shrubs and fallen logs are designed to bring nature in and provide children a space to play and learn. Birds nesting in the trees, bugs in the logs, and worms in the compost allow for endless teaching opportunities in this outdoor classroom. In these type of playgrounds children gain respect for their environment and understand their place in it.

These play spaces have no minimum fitness level, allowing children to participate rather than watch from the sidelines. They are designated to be inclusive, for every child regardless of ability. And, they present opportunities for children to increase their fitness level through natural play in a natural setting.

“Natural playgrounds are inviting, not intimidating; suggestive, not prescriptive; inclusive, not exclusive, and open to all who want to explore their own imagination,” Janks said.

From the Midland Daily News – Midland, MI – Read whole story

Learn more at

Nature At The Confluence project in South Beloit

Nature at the Confluence Logo jpegBe Active Outdoors is exciting to lend volunteer support to a new and exciting intiative in South Beloit, Illinois call Nature at the Confluence. It will be a destination, nature-based, public open space dedicated to making City Center’s historic confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek a place of gathering, exploration, recreation, learning, and inspiration for people for all ages and abilities.

Be Active Outdoors board president, Therese Oldenburg is chair of the Programming & Marketing Committee and has created the organization’s website – and it’s Facebook page.

The Goals of Nature At the Confluence

1. To develop a center of pride for South Beloit; a year round, regional destination that will interpret the cultural and
environmental histories of this piece of land.
2. To provide a serene and accessible place to enjoy nature and view wildlife.
3. To create hands on activities that will enrich the understanding of the transformative power ecological applied over time to remediate the damage caused by degradation.
4. To connect the Confluence to the areas disparate ecological systems, parks and trails that border the Rock River and Turtle Creek.
5. To be a catalyst for the redevelopment of adjoining property and street infrastructure.

One of the goals of the space is that it would include opportunities for natural play. Learn more about the importance of connecting youth with their natural world through play at this website: Children and Nature.

The Rock River – An Underappreciated Local and Regional Natural Asset

By Walter Loos
Executive Director, Be Active Outdoors, Inc.

I hope everyone has been following the recent efforts of the Rock River Trail Initiative Council to establish a multi-use trail of recreational, scenic and historical interest and significance along the 385 miles the river runs through Wisconsin and Illinois. This truly is a tremendous undertaking, and something that should have everyone’s fullest attention and support. It has only been through the council’s tireless dedication over the last couple of years that the Rock River basin has started to be seen as the local and regional natural asset that it is.

Unfortunately, for many years, the Rock River basin, along with many of our regional and national waterways, has faced its share of challenges and neglect issues. The stigma assigned to the Rock River basin has not been created by one single culprit. Rather, it is the combination of past use abuses, the failure to recognize the area as a treasured asset, and a range of current-day naivety that has helped paint an unflattering picture of the Rock River. The council is well on its way of meeting one of its primary objectives of establishing the Rock River Water Trail and achieving designation as a state and national recreation water trail. See full story

Rock River Trail Gains National Water Trail Status!

The Rock River Water Trail has been designated into the National Water Trails System by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, according to an announcement by the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. The official letter of designation and plaque have been received by the trail’s founder and coordinator, Frank Schier, editor and publisher of this paper.

The National Water Trails System is a distinctive national network of exemplary water trails of local and regional significance that are cooperatively supported and sustained. The trails system has been established to protect and restore America’s rivers, shorelines and waterways and to increase access to outdoor recreation on shorelines and waterways. See full article Congratulations to Frank Schier and the rest of the individuals that helped make the designation of the Rock River as a National Water Way a reality.

3rd Annual River Bassin Challenge

Be Active Outdoors is a proud supporter of the 3rd Annual River Bassin Challenge to be held July 27th in Aurora IL. The River Bassin Challenge, sponsored by Paddle and Trail is a unique conservation minded, paddle-powered or shoreline only fishing event, with a catch-measure-photo-release format that promotes sustainability within the environment. Anglers can fish for bass in rivers or streams in a large region of Northern Illinois beginning at dawn the day of the tournament, and simply take a photo of their catch on a standard measuring board given to all anglers. After taking the photo they release the fish back into the water for future generations to enjoy. By 4:30 p.m. they must report to Paddle and Trail of Aurora, 107 Spruce Street, Aurora, IL  to fill out their scorecard, turn in their camera’s memory card, grab some food, and relax while they wait for the results ceremony to begin at 6pm.

Kayak Angling is one of the fastest growing sports and this fun and festive tournament is great way to come out and find out what the sport is all about. For this year we are going to be introducing a new team, family and categories.

Proceeds from the tournament go to river restoration projects and furthering the sport of kayak fishing.

Click here to learn more  

Hope to see you out on the water.

Beloit City Center Bike Rental Program

Beloit City Center Bike Rentals is partner program operated by Be Active Outdoors in partnership with Beloit Parks and Leisure Services. Beloit City Center Bike Rentals  has a number of rental kiosk locations throughout downtown Beloit, winner of the 2011 Great American Main Street Awards by the National Trust Main Street Center.

Beloit City Center Bike Rentals offers an assortment of classic single and tandem bikes, electric scooters and 4 seater Surry bikes. You choose your chosen pedal-powered transportation in exploring all of what the new 10 Mile City region has to offer.  For those individuals that haven’t visited to the Beloit area region lately we recommend the City Center Bike Loop.

Rental Rates

$10 per hour or $25 for half day rentals

*The proceeds from  Beloit City Center Bike Rentals goes directly to supporting programs and services offered by Be Active Outdoors and the Beloit Parks and Leisure Services.

Hope to see you out on the trails this summer!

Beloit Rental Location

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Forwarding Our Social and Community Causes

We have just announced the 2013 dates for the Amped Up Adventure Race Series with races being held in Rockford IL, Beloit WI, and Aurora IL. The races series acts as a critical catalyst to strengthen our mission of inspiring tomorrow’s outdoor enthusiast while providing vital funds to allow us to progress the work of Be Active Outdoors.

The race itself is a one-of-a-kind adventure race that takes the traditional adventure race elements and combines them with an urban obstacle component. Each race has a biking, running, and paddling component and they all finish with the specially designed urban obstacle course. The race series is design intentionally to inspire participation across the full spectrum of race experience, from those just getting into the sport, to seasoned adventure racers. Also, where other adventure races somewhat limit youth and family participation, we highly encourage participation by having youth and family divisions.

Besides the races getting the competitive juices going, the race locations are chosen specifically to highlight that region’s tremendous local natural assets, while at the same time, raising money for identified community and local social causes.  These funds go directly to expanding and encouraging individuals, and our communities as a whole, to develop a deep appreciation for our local natural assets and adopt health outdoor activity lifestyles.

If adventure racing really isn’t your thing, no worries, there are many ways to become involved with the efforts of Be Active Outdoors. We are constantly on the lookout for others that share our passion for inspiring tomorrow’s outdoor enthusiast.

Be Active Outdoors - inspiring tomorrow's outdoor enthusiast