COTTAGE GROVE - About 85 runners and walkers got their first look at the renovated Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park during the June 24 Run the Ravine 5K.
The race capped a weekend of events that included a craft party Friday and goat yoga sessions Saturday.
The festivities also included a kids' fun run.
The out and back 5K course took runners along the shore of Ravine Lake before snaking its way up through woods that had been stripped of invasive buckthorn and other noxious weeds. Native flora such as burr oak and prairie grass now had room to breathe; you could almost see their green exhale.
The once cracked and cratered trail had been replaced with smooth blacktop, with a few new curves added.
The 515-acre park was closed for more than a year. It now has new entrance at County Road 19/Keats Avenue, additional parking lots, new and repaved trails and a new playground. The South Washington Watershed District also improved the park's drainage system and stabilized the ravine to prevent flooding.
Race director Carol DeBlieck said they reached their registration limit of 100 runners prior to race day. The staff included nearly 40 volunteers from Cottage Grove Random Runners.
"We got a lot of community support, DeBlieck said.
It was unclear if the race will return next year.