Grassroots efforts can spur the growth of Nordic Walking
In her blog, Twin Cities Nordic Walk This Way’s energetic Rhea Kontos wrote: “The [Minneapolis] Star Tribune reported that Dakota County Parks, Lebanon Hills, is having an open meeting to solicit ideas from the public on the best ways to spend some funding to improve the park. Meeting is Tues, Nov 24 from 5-8pm @ 860 Cliff Road in Eagan. Is it time for some Nordic Walking poles to be available for rent? Have any other great ideas?” She included a link to the county parks site and even provided the phone number for a person to contact for information — or perhaps make a suggestion. She is setting a great example by getting the word out with a reasonable suggestion that can be impactful in her area.
The Lebanon Hills visitor center (right) at the 2,000-acre natural park laced with summer and winter trails already seasonally rents cross-country skis, snowshoes and kayaks and offers free loaner fishing equipment. So why not Nordic Walking poles?
Rhea’s pro-activity in this realm makes me think that pro-activity by individuals — individual instructors, usually — in their own communities is causing Nordic Walking to inch forward in gaining general acceptance as an easy-to-learn, easy-on-the-wallet route to better health and increased fitness. We who love Nordic Walking know this, but without the corporate muscle of a committed manufacturer or deep-pocketed Nordic Walking sponsor, it’s a tough row to hoe. LEKI gave it a good shot, supporting programs, hiring a New York public relations agency and training individuals to teach Nordic Walking or lead Nordic Walking groups. They’ve pulled back significantly, and no other large entity has stepped in, so it is left to passionate Nordic Walkers like Rhea to promote and cajole within their own communities.