A working lunch at Guttenberg's hidden treasure

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From left, Rotarians Karilyn McArthur, Gary Mick and Kim Gau clear low-hanging branches at Big Springs park along the Great River Road in north Guttenberg. (Press photo by Shelia Tomkins)

  By Shelia Tomkins

A recent noon hour on a beautiful summer day found members of Guttenberg Rotary Club heading to the Big Springs park area for a true "working lunch." The park, located in the city limits along the Great River Road, has been a Rotary project for several years.

Gloves, weed trimmers and pruning shears were hauled from trunks and pickups as Rotarians rolled up their sleeves and set out to pull weeds and remove undergrowth from around the shelter and along the trails that head west up the bluff.

Club President Karilyn McArthur pulled weeds around the shelter using old-fashioned muscle power, while Dale Linderbaum and Matt Esser disappeared up the trails, accompanied by the hum of their gas trimmers. Kathy Lake swept the shelter and tidied up the area. Low-hanging branches were obscuring the view of the Big Springs stream, so Kim Gau gamely stood in the water and tackled the problem using pruning shears, with  much helpful assistance from Gary Mick. 

McArthur describes the area as "Guttenberg's hidden treasure," and says it makes her feel good to know the area is utilized, telling of a recent encounter she had with a family enjoying the spot. 

As the Rotarians worked, a car pulled in. The driver, a geologist from an area college, asked if anyone had seen the cellphone he lost earlier while examing the terrain. Sorry, no. McArthur loaned him her cellphone which he used to call his number, and, following the sound of the ring up a trail, returned in about five minutes with a smile on his face and the lost phone in hand. Soon another car, with out-of-state license plates and a kayak on top, pulled in, but left shortly after looking over the site. Apparently the area is attracting daily interest from curious travelers on the Great River Road. 

After a strenuous workout tackling the landscape, members stopped for pizza, soda and fresh fruit set out on the picnic tables by McArthur. Discussion over lunch focused on some possible improvements, such as making the trail head more visible and ways to stop run-off. It was noted that while city workers mow the site, the Rotary Club members do a lot of maintenance and trimming, visiting there a couple times during the season. 

About Rotary

The local Rotary Club has a long tradition of community service. It is affiliated with Rotary International, a global network of members whose goal is to make a better world.

The local club has a long list of impressive accomplishments in addition to the Big Springs shelter and nature trail project.

The group recently donated $10,000 to the Wave of the Future pool campaign, and in the past has paid for many projects that residents may not be aware of, such as the 75 American flags and poles on city streets, as well as the immense flag along the highway at Horseshoe Pond. Members help sponsor Fourth of July fireworks, the community egg hunt and encourage young leaders through the Rotary Youth Leadership Award. The Christmas star that shines each holiday season atop the west bluff is made possible by the local club. And the list goes on. 

Their humanitarian works extend far beyond the city limits via donations to Rotary International, such as $6,000 for a water well in Tanzania and donations for polio eradication.

How to join

Guttenberg Rotary currently has 18 members, and new members are always welcome. If you are interested in serving the community and the world while enjoying camaraderie with fellow Rotarians, contact any current member or attend a Thursday meeting from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at The Stadium. In addition to lunch, weekly speakers share interesting topics on a wide range of subjects.

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