Rochester Active Sports Club (RASC) is a nonprofit club based in Rochester Minnesota, designed to promote nordic skiing, mountain biking and road biking in SE Minnesota.

Donation goal for Gamehaven

Collected: $23,061.00
Goal: $20,000.00
Help us Launch Snowmaking at Gamehaven Park!

Gamehaven Park was recently awarded $1.07 million from State Legacy funding to go toward development of a winter recreation area at Gamehaven.

A significant factor in why this was funded was RASC’S commitment to support this project both financially and with volunteer hours. We have committed to raise $150,000 for the 1st phase of snowmaking at Gamehaven.  We will be raising these funds over the next year from interested skiers and their families, community sponsors and corporations.  This will initially support the creation of a 2-3 km ski trail with snowmaking!  

To get off to a fast start on this fundraising and to demonstrate to prospective donors how passionate the support is for this project, we are asking for your help in raising $20,000 by the 31st December. Please support this in any way you can and help us get an early start to this major project for 2019.

RASC winter mascot skiing on artifical snow!

      (courtesy of Strangeblood Designs)

To donate to this project, please click HERE

Gamehaven Winter / Summer Silent Sports Recreation Park

Gamehaven Park is located just south of the city and east of the Shoppes on Maine and the Wehrenberg Theatre, and includes about 260 acres of land. The reservoir was created during the 1980s as part of the city's flood control system. The park is a city park that has undergone little or development over the last 30 years. It can be accessed either from 45th Stree SE, or from Co Rd 1 SE. 

Our vision for this park is to promote its development as the premier winter and summer recreation park for the City of Rochester. Below you will find details of our vision for Gamehaven. The tabs on the left side provide more specific details for each of the silent sports activities that we believe can all be accommodated in this park. Below is an aerial view of the park. The yellow outline shows the current park boundaries. The red line shows the boundaries of the adjacent Boy Scout Reservation.

Winter Activities

For winter activities, we are looking to model Gamehaven on similar parks up in Minneapolis (e.g. Elm Creek Park, Hyland Park, Theodore Wirth) with significant snow-making capability that can support a 3-6 km Nordic trail system, a snow-tubing hill, a terrain park suitable for snowboarding and a wintercross park (think of a BMX park but on Nordic skis). The mountain bike trails would also be developed to support Winter Mountain biking (fat tyre bikes).

Summer Activities

For summer activities, we would like to see a paved multi-purpose trail that circumnavigates the lake. With the steep sides to the lake shore, this would be a very attractive for biking and hiking and unique to this area. Coupled with that would be the need to connect this new bike trail to the existing bike trails in Rochester (the current city bike trail system ends about half a mile to the west of the park). 

There is already a mountain bike trail system developed by RASC and the Boy Scouts that uses both Gamehaven and part of the Boy Scout Camp. This trail system would be expanded to utilize the southern and western parts of the park. In winter time this trail would be utilized for snowshoeing and winter fat tire mountain biking. 

There is also interest in having a pump track that could be used for both conventional and BMX riders. Made of dirt and clay rollers and berms, a pump track offers a great way for kids of all ages to get active, get a core workout and develop great off road biking skills which go hand-in-hand with mountain biking. There are few BMX parks in Minnesota and establishment of a top notch park capable of hosting events would be a major summer attraction.

An additional benefit of such a pump track is that in wintertime it can be easily incorporated into the Nordic trail system. Adding snow on top of the dirt berms creates the equivalent of Nordic skicross track. This is an excellent and fun way to develop and build ski skills.

The large Gamehaven Reservoir provides great opportunity for kayaking and stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding in summer time.

Financial Requirements for Gamehaven

Over the last year or two we have brought up the plans for Gamehaven and the concept of a winter / summer sports park in Rochester. On behalf of RASC, Jeff Robertson has put in a lot of work with the Rochester Park and Recreation department, to develop a master plan for Gamehaven Park. That plan resulted in the designation of Gamehaven as a Minnesota regional park and lead to the allocation of approx. $1.3 M by the Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission (GMPTC), for the purchase of adjacent land needed for park development.

The overall cost of a fully developed park, with full winter and summer amenities is over $10M and something that we realized would take several grant cycles to accomplish. Unfortunately, in the last funding cycle, Gamehaven was not funded by GMPTC. The city had asked for a parking lot and playground facility. In discussion with Mike Nigbur from the Park & Rec Dept, the feeling was that their last proposal lacked any sense of energy / drive or any community commitment. Concurrent with this, several RASC members had raised the issue of the increasing unreliability of snow on our ski trails in Rochester with each passing year. This led to a proposal from RASC to the Park & Rec to help develop a small man-make snow loop in Rochester, with Gamehaven being the most suitable location.

The net result of numerous conversations between RASC / RNST skiers and the Park & Rec was an agreement on a revised grant submission that expanded the request to include a man-made Nordic ski trail. As part of this agreement, RASC agreed to contribute $150k over a period of 5 years, along with 150 hours of labor each year to make this happen. This is almost an order of magnitude greater than anything we have tried before, but the benefit would be worth it – a guarantee of a 2.5 km ski trail all winter, with an expansion to 5 km as additional funding comes in from the Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission.

In November, the GMPTC recommended that Gamehaven receive additional funding of $1.07M. From feedback from members of the GMPTC and the Park & Rec, the willingness of local clubs / organizations to contribute to development of a park infrastructure was a key factor in approval of funding for this project.

This is the largest and most daunting task we have ever undertaken. The long term benefits for Rochester and RASC / RNST members would be something all of us would value. The grant approval still needs to be approved by the Minnesota State Legislature. If funded, the goal is to implement the snow making system for the 2019/2020 ski season.

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