Since 1978, Lanesboro, Minnesota has been home to the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, a place where education is rooted in nature.
"Our primary mission is to empower people to care for the earth and each other, so we have a host of activities that have an environmental bend, but we also have a life skills bend," Sara Sturgis, Development and Communications Coordinator said. "You might come and participate as a school or as an adult in our skills school. We're also a summer camp, and we are also much like a state park or nature center where people can enjoy the trails go out and enjoy the view over the bluff. Capping that, we have family activities and in the summertime we feature something called the high ropes challenge."
The ropes challenge is perhaps Eagle Bluff's star attraction, serving as a way students, friends, and family can grow as a team, while going through a unique experience together.
The East Ropes Course is one of three ropes courses at Eagle Bluff. It starts six feet off the ground and works it's way up to 30 feet. The courses are open to the public on Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer. They're even available during winter months.
"It's got seven different events, and then a zip line. It's right at the edge of the bluff so you can be about 300 feet over the North Branch of the Root River," said Brent Anderson, Adventure Education Coordinator. "All the events you can do different ways to make them more challenging and make them easier depending on the level of challenge you want."
Eagle Bluff staff details safety measures before each challenge, and even lets participants go through a practice round first before they take on the actual course. From there, people will go through the different stages, testing skills like strength and agility, but never missing the opportunity to appreciate the view.
"We get a great view of the north branch of the Root River, this goes all the way down just east of Lanesboro, where it comes in to the South Branch and they flow down to the east to the Mississippi." added Anderson.
After a series of more challenging stages, the course rewards your hard work with a zip line ride at the end that makes this the perfect summertime activity located right in your own back yard.
"We're probably within a short drive of where you live. That half an hour, hour drive you know we're here. It's hard to think of us sometimes but it's easy to get to, I think, and especially if it's a beautiful day, it makes for a really great outing here," Sturgis said.
For a new episode of Hometown Tourist check back next Wednesday for a new episode, and a chance to make the La Crosse area your own.