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Dash through Hennepin's natural past

The Wetlands Initiative to host 5K at new area of the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

HENNEPIN — While the village of Hennepin will be celebrating its 200th birthday, one of the scheduled events will offer participants a chance to appreciate how the area looked before it was settled.

The Wetlands Initiative (TWI), a non-profit dedicated to restoring the wetlands of the Midwest, will be hosting the inaugural Dixon Refuge Dash 5K on Saturday, Sept. 23, to help celebrate Hennepin’s bicentennial.

The family-friendly trail run will lead entrants through the new Hickory Hollow tract at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge. This area isn't yet open to the public and is still a restoration-in-progress. The course will offer beautiful scenic views of native habitats such as sand and mesic prairies, an oak savanna and a floodplain forest.

"Like the rest of the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, this new area is being restored to native Illinois River Valley habitats that are closer to what the area would've been like when the village of Hennepin was established 200 years ago," Suzanne Wagner, TWI's director of development and communications, said.

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m., and runners will start at 8 a.m.. Walkers will begin at 8:15 a.m.. The race will take place rain or shine, unless the weather becomes extreme.

The entry fee is $10 per person. Children younger than 16 are welcome, but they must pay the entry fee and also be accompanied by a parent or adult chaperone. All participants will receive a Dixon Refuge Dash T-shirt ,and the entry fee helps support TWI's mission of habitat restoration in the Illinois River Valley.

Parking will be available off of Route 26, near the race start.

Following the race, entrants are invited to enjoy the other bicentennial activities in nearby Hennepin, including a pancake breakfast at the Hennepin Fire Station.

For more information or to pre-register visit For more information about Hennepin visit

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