Community Highlight: Watertown Winter Loop
Updated: Mar 30
Special thanks to Susan Wollin from Get Healthy Watertown and Randy Wojtaskiak, Watertown’s Director of Parks & Recreation, for contributing to this article.
Watertown's "Winter Wellness Loop" logo
Image description: Illustrated snowflakes and the words "Winter Wellness Loop" appear in white on a blue background
This month’s community highlight is Watertown! Inspired by the Winter Route in Eau Claire, Mayor Emily McFarland wanted to help share the message that getting outside is good for both physical and mental health, especially during the winter months.
The parks and recreation department created a winter loop, which is a .7-mile paved walking trail that goes through the beautiful Riverside Park. The loop is prioritized for snow removal so that residents know they have a safe surface for running, biking, walking, and meeting friends for outdoor activities. Prompt snow removal is key to the success of the winter loop, and feedback from the community has been positive and receptive. The loop still needs a name, however, and the community is being solicited for ideas.
There is also a new initiative to make winter recreation equipment available to the public. The Parks & Recreation department and Get Healthy Watertown worked together to offer snowshoe reservations for the various hiking trails in the park system, though unfortunately this winter has not been a good one for snow hikes. However, it has been a good season for skating. This is the first year that skate rentals have been offered, and that has really taken off! Thanks to the Quirk Foundation, the parks department was able to open a warming house at Silver Creek and offer complimentary hot chocolate, which is very popular with the public. As this winter season wraps up (at least in the southern part of the state!), we know that some cities are already making plans for next year. The Winter Placemaking Guide from 8 80 Cities and AARP along with our Active Winter Playbook are two great resources. We also love to see communities inspire each other. Do you have a community highlight to share? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.