Green digest: Bike Walk Week

Bike Walk Week gets rolling June 4

Hide the car keys and get ready for some fresh air: Twin Cities Bike Walk Week is back with a full nine days of events running June 4­–12.

The annual event challenges Twin Cities residents to use their vehicles less and their legs and lungs a little more. Begun as a one-day event in 2007 and expanded to a week the next year, Bike Walk Week grew in 2010 to include more than 7,000 registered participants, the most ever.

The main event is Bike Walk to Work Day on June 9, when people across the metro area join their neighbors and coworkers on a walk or ride to work. Participants can stop at celebration points like Hennepin County Government Plaza for various rewards, such as free coffee or coupons to area retailers.

A two-hour Women’s Wednesday Bike Ride through Downtown sets off 6 p.m. June 8 from the Downtown Minneapolis YWCA, 1130 Nicollet Mall. The YWCA is also offering a pre-Bike Walk Week bike cleaning and tuning workshop 6 p.m.–8 p.m. June 1 to get riders ready for the week ahead.

Other opportunities to participate in Bike Walk Week include: the American Heart Association’s 2011 Twin Cities Heart Walk at Target Field, starting 7:30 a.m. June 4; Grand Old Day in St. Paul June 5; and Yoga on the Greenway 10:30 a.m. June 11. For more information on times in locations for these and other Bike Walk Week events, visit bikewalkweek.org.

The event website is also where you can register to officially participate and pledge to make at least one trip by bike or on foot instead of in a car. Teams from workplaces, schools and organizations can earn prizes for getting their coworkers to join them.

Southwest hosts the huge closing celebration for Bike Walk Week on June 12 when the Minneapolis Open Streets event takes over 20 blocks of Lyndale Avenue South.

The Twin Cities’ first ever “cyclovia” will close Lyndale to motor vehicle traffic between 22nd and 42nd streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. so that bikers, walkers and skaters can cruise, shop or meet up with friends and neighbors on a car-free street. For more on the event, and the history of the cyclovia movement, visit openstreetsmpls.com.

June 12 also happens to be the seasonal debut of the Uptown Market 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at the intersection of Lyndale and 29th Street. And the Kingfield Farmers Market, 4310 Nicollet Ave., will be open 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m., as usual.

Head down to Open Streets and bike home with a basketful of local produce.

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Watershed district grades area lakes

Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet are at the top of the class among Southwest lakes, both earning A grades on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s 2010 report card, issued in May.

The report card takes into account water clarity, algae growth and nutrients to determine lake quality, scoring area lakes on an A–F scale. Twenty-one of the district’s lakes scored an A in 2010 for overall health and water clarity.

Further down on the list, Cedar Lake earned a B in 2010 and Lake of the Isles scored a C, while it was a C- for Brownie Lake, at the top of the Chain of Lakes. Lakes in the B and C range have varying degrees of summer algae growth.

Grass Lake, in the Kenny Neighborhood, got a D+. The district reports lakes that score in the D and F range have “limited water transparency, severe algae problems and very limited recreational use.”

Hold the clippers: It’s no-pruning season for ash

The arrival of warm weather means bugs of all kinds, including the invasive emerald ash borer, are stirring back to life.

To help slow the spread of the highly destructive invasive species, the city is encouraging residents not to prune ash trees from now until Labor Day. A Minnesota Department of Agriculture quarantine on ash firewood and wood products also remains in effect for Hennepin and Ramsey counties, meaning those products can not be transported out of the quarantined area.

First discovered in Minnesota in 2009 and in Minneapolis in 2010, emerald ash borer poses a significant threat to ash trees, which account an estimated one-fifth of the roughly 900,000 trees in Minneapolis. The beetle’s larvae, which feast on the nutrient-carrying layers of the ash tree just beneath the bark, are already blamed for killing millions of trees in the United States and Canada.

For more information on emerald ash borer or the quarantine, go to the state agriculture department website, mda.state.mn.us.

Reach Dylan Thomas at dthomas@mnpubs.com.