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Ryan Johnson, Published August 20 2013

Take advantage of Red River’s amenities for final summer hurrah without leaving F-M

Fargo - The final stretch of summer is here, and it won’t be long until long, warm days are nothing but a distant memory.

But it’s not too late for an end-of-summer vacation that won’t break the budget or even require leaving Fargo-Moorhead, said Christine Laney, the River Keepers project coordinator.

There are plenty of ways to take advantage of one of the community’s top amenities, the Red River, for some summer fun and sun before the kids go back to school and snowblowers become more useful than lawnmowers, she said.

“Rather than hauling your canoe or your fishing boat to some lake in Minnesota, you don’t have to wait for the weekend to use this water,” Laney said.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the Red River doesn’t have undercurrents and is safe to enjoy as long as people use common sense and proper safety equipment, she said.

The river should be viewed as an asset here, not just a border between the two cities, she said.


GO FISHING

Catfish might get the most attention from area anglers, but Laney said more than 70 species of fish can be caught in the waters of the Red River here.

Head out on your own and test your skills from shore or a boat, or go out on the river with catfishing guide Jay Leitch, who also occasionally serves as captain of the S.S. Ruby.

All tackle and equipment is provided, and up to four people can fish from the pontoon at a time for $30 per adult, $15 for teens under 16 and $5 for those under 12 if accompanied by an adult. If space is available, active or retired military personnel and seniors 60 and older may fish for free.

Leitch’s last scheduled guided fishing events of the year will take place Saturday from 1 to 2:45 p.m., 3 to 4:45 p.m., 5 to 6:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. to dusk. No reservations are required, but participants are asked to arrive at least five minutes before the scheduled departure and must have a valid Minnesota or North Dakota fishing license unless they’re younger than 16.

Half-day and full-day charters also may be available by arrangement.

For more information, call (701) 793-7829.


ROUGHING IT IN TOWN

A blanket and some food is all you need to enjoy a relaxing picnic without leaving town. Find a quiet spot to spread out in any park along the Red.

Or get the full vacation experience by spending a night under the stars at Fargo’s Lindenwood Park, the largest and most popular park in the city at 1955 Roger Maris Drive.

Set up for the night in one of the 60 campsites in this wooded riverside oasis with fire pits, picnic tables and two playgrounds. The campground’s information center includes a lounge area, restrooms and showers to make it easy to rough it for a night.

Campsites are available through Oct. 15, weather permitting, for $28 a night. To make reservations, call (701) 232-3987.


FLOAT DOWN THE RED

Enjoy a warm day on the Red River in River Keepers’ own S.S. Ruby, a boat the group has operated for 11 years that gives 45-minute narrated tours on the history, geography and wildlife of the river several days a week.

Passengers can board the S.S. Ruby under the First Avenue North bridge, where parking is available at the nearby Hjemkomst Center lot, 202 1st Ave. N., Moorhead.

All tours depart at the top of the hour 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, and 1 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until the tours wrap up the season on Sept. 1. The cost is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 60 and up and $6 for those 5 to 16; kids 4 and younger can ride for free.

The boat also can be reserved for private tours any day of the week.

River Keepers also offers several canoes and kayaks that can be rented for $8 an hour at the First Avenue North dock.

For more information or to make a reservation, call (701) 793-7829.


HIT THE TRAILS

Now is the time of year to enjoy the paved trails that run along the river in both Fargo and Moorhead. Several stretches of the paths are often under water when the Red swells in the spring, and soon they’ll be covered with snow.

Lace up a pair of running shoes, grab a skateboard, put on some Rollerblades or hop on a bike – all are welcome.

There’s a nice loop through downtown F-M from the Midtown Dam on the Moorhead side of the river north to Wildflower Grove, where people can cross into Fargo and head south to finish their workout.

Or enjoy the trail at a slower pace and take in the riverfront scenery that makes it hard to remember you’re still in town.

With miles of paved shared-use trails and plenty more on-road bike lanes, the options to get around town are endless.

Find the FM Metropolitan Council of Government’s 2013 bikeways map at www.fmmetrocog.org for more ideas and new routes to explore.


GO FOR A HOLE IN ONE

Grab some bug spray and head to one of the metro’s five riverside disc golf courses for a relaxing, or competitive, afternoon.

Located at 3664 Elm St. N., the 28-acre Trollwood Park in Fargo boasts an 18-hole course that’s free to use. All you need is a disc, or rent one from the Fargo Park District by calling (701) 499-6060.

Or bring your gear to Oak Grove Park, one of Fargo’s oldest and best groomed parks, 170 Maple St. N. Enjoy the scenic view of the river while completing the 18-hole course.

There’s also a nine-hole course in Iwen Park, 1209 52nd Ave. S.

Moorhead’s Memorial Riverfront Park, 210 8th St. N., has a 13-hole disc golf course that’s free and open during regular park hours 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. There’s also a 10-hole course at Woodlawn Park, 400 Woodlawn Drive.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587