Kidsdonate in search of a new place to play in a natural setting along the Red River in Fargo Moorhead will soon have a brand new place to explore, run, jump and get immersed in nature. This whimsical 4-season play area will use boulders, trees, shrubs, logs, rocks and water to provide open-ended, physically challenging and unstructured play opportunities. The play area will be as enticing for a child to play in as it is aesthetically beautiful to the community, where children will challenge every part of their mind, body and spirit, through play. Watch this 4-minute video to learn more.

Why is a Natural Play Area Needed in Fargo Moorhead?
Children in Fargo-Moorhead have access to numerous parks, playgrounds, and sporting activities. However, children today have much less time for unstructured play compared to previous generations. Why does that matter? Unstructured play is critical to children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. It is advised that children have twice as much time for unstructured play compared to structured play. Many adults remember the joy of free, outdoor, natural, unstructured play from their own childhood, but this is a distinct contrast from children today who are much more sedentary and who tend to participate mainly in adult-organized activities. This lack of play is contributing to the mental and physical health crisis in children.
Studies show natural playgrounds increase physical activity compared to conventional play areas and are preferred by children because they find them challenging and more interesting. One study found that natural playgrounds in the UK had 55% more children visiting (and 14% more adults) when compared to conventional playgrounds in the US, and kids were about 18% more active in natural playgrounds. Natural play areas also have a lower rate of injury when compared to conventional playgrounds. Natural play areas typically cost less than conventional playgrounds to build as well.

This project also envisions building a bike skills park. Biking instills confidence in kids and helps develop balance, strengthens joints, muscles, bones, and the heart and lungs. Bike skills parks are playgrounds for bikers that include a variety of natural obstacles such as rocks and logs, imaginatively created features such land ladder bridges, teeters, and dirt jumps all collected in a small and easily accessible location. These can most easily be thought of as a skateboard park designed specifically for mountain bikes. As mountain biking popularity increases, these parks are often being constructed and designed for younger kids to help introduce them to the sport and provide a setting to develop the skills to allow them to eventually ride on more advanced trails.

The FM Rotary Foundation's goal is to raise $1,270,000 to build a world class Natural Play Hill and bike skills park. The goal is to create a unique, fun and challenging playground to promote physical activity, get kids outside year round and promote healthy development in local kids.


What will you do at Riverfront Park?

A goal for this project is bring fun and enjoyment to our winters.  Daily outdoor time is healthy year round, and with proper preparation, we can embrace the outdoors, just like the year-round outdoor-loving Scandinavians, who have year-round outdoor preschools and who build winter time activities into daily living.

Maintenance of the play area will be done by Moorhead Parks, similar to the setup at two previous Rotary projects - the Lindenwood Universal Playground in Fargo and the Miracle Field in south Moorhead.

The project committee conducted a study of multiple potential sites in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo, and following months of analysis, the site of Riverfront Park in Moorhead, Minnesota was selected. This site offers a beautiful riverfront location on the Red River of the North, nestled between hills and trees in a serene setting just across from downtown Fargo, North Dakota. It is steps from the Moorhead bike trail, and also is on the lit cross country ski trail system. Parking is readily available on a riverside road just off First Ave. North. The location is central in the metro region, and easily accessible by public transportation, located steps away from rapidly expanding downtown Moorhead.
Learn More and Get Involveddonate
Join the discussion on the importance of natural outdoor play by joining our Facebook page. Much remains to be done, and your support is needed. The goal is to have the playground construction kicked off in 2021. Cost estimates for the total construction cost for both the playground and the bike park are $1.27 million. Corporate and individual sponsorships and donations are welcome, and major donors will be recognized through signage at the playground. Click here to make a secure online donation of any size, or checks can be mailed to
FM Rotary Foundation
PO Box 684
Fargo, ND 58107
What is Rotary?
Rotary International is a global volunteer organization with over 1.2 million members organized into over 35,000 Rotary Clubs spread throughout the world. There are 5 Rotary Clubs in Fargo-Moorhead. Click on this humorous 3-minute video produced by the local Rotary Clubs to learn more about Rotary, or this site provides links to each of the five clubs; or you can learn more about Rotary International.
The FM Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by the 5 Fargo Moorhead Rotary Clubs. Click here for more information on the FM Rotary Foundation. The 5 local Rotary Clubs are in Rotary District 5580, covering North Dakota, northwest Minnesota, Superior, Wisconsin and southwestern Ontario in the regions around Thunder Bay.
Project Sponsors
The Rotary Natural Play Hill and Bike Park has received generous donations from nearly 300 unique donors. The FM Rotary Foundation, the 5 Rotary Clubs and the 200+ Rotarians from Fargo-Moorhead would like to express our sincere gratitude for the generosity and number of donors who have sustained this project that will bring such a big benefit to the community. Additional support is still needed. You can have your family or company name engraved on a paver and permanently included at the site, with additional recognition opportunities are available. Click here to make an online or check donation to the FM Rotary Foundation (the sponsor form link is at the top of this page).
Naturalist Level - $50,000 and up
  1. FM Convention and Visitors Bureau
  2. John Ballantyne Foundation
  3. Scheels Foundation
  4. Sanford Foundation
Design Level $25,000 - $49,999
  1. Essentia Health Foundation
  2. Pachel Foundation
  3. Richard and Gayle Larson
  4. Dr. Bill Hunter
  5. KLJ Engineering
  6. FM Rotary Foundation
Wood Level $10,000 - $24,999
  1. David & Misty Dietz
  2. Gast Construction
  3. Del Rae & Ron Williams
  4. Alerus Financial
  5. Rotary District 5580
  6. Earthwork Services


Stone Level $2,500 - $9,999
  1. Alex Stern Family Foundation
  2. American Crystal Sugar Co.
  3. Auto Club Group Foundation
  4. Bell State Bank
  5. Border States Paving
  6. Clay County Early Childhood Initiative
  7. Concorde General Agency
  8. Confluence
  9. Cornerstone Bank
  10. Fargo Rotary Club
  11. Fargo West Rotary Club
  12. Heather Ranck & Ryan McManus
  13. Hector Foundation
  14. Herb & Bonnie Schmidt
  15. Horace Lions
  16. Integrity Steel
  17. Jean Hannig
  18. Jerry Rogers
  19. Jim Bullis
  20. Jim & Cindy O’Day
  21. Julie and Dan Whitney
  22. Keith & Lynne Brokke
  23. Kost Materials
  24. Mark & Debbie Hulbert
  25. Dr. Michael Howell
  26. Noridian
  27. Optimist Club of Fargo
  28. PSV Enterprises
  29. Sparklight
  30. Stenerson Lumber
  31. Steve and Marianne Smith
  32. Xcel Energy Foundation
Paver Level $500 - $2,499
  1. 702 Communications
  2. Amber DeKrey
  3. Amy Thier (Moorhead Scheels)
  4. Bachman, Inc. (Floor to Ceiling Carpet One)
  5. Bergstrom Eye and Laser
  6. Bernie Ness
  7. Beverage Wholesalers
  8. Bill Woods
  9. Border States Electric
  10. Boulger Funeral Home
  11. Brad and Sue Bachmeier
  12. Bremer Bank
  13. Brian and Sandy Korbel
  14. Bruce Bekkerus / A-1 Automotive
  15. Charles Matthees
  16. Chris Andreasen
  17. Chris Davis
  18. Chuck Helmstetter
  19. Connie Caspers
  20. D&N Cinematics
  21. Dan Jacobson
  22. Dave and Jane Sederquist
  23. Design Direction / Sylvia Lunski
  24. Donor Not Identified
  25. Doosan Bobcat
  26. EPIC Companies
  27. Family Health Care
  28. First Interational Bank & Trust
  29. FM-AM Rotary Club
  30. Gary and Cindy Nolte
  31. Gateway Chevrolet
  32. Greg Tehven
  33. Heather Johnson-Kjos
  34. Houston Engineering Inc.
  35. Jean Runger (Moorhead Scheels)
  36. Jennifer Miller
  37. Jill Berg
  38. Jim Osmanski
  39. John and Sherri Stern
  40. John Andreasen
  41. John VanderLinden
  42. JPK Engineering (Jamie Kronbeck)
  43. Kathleen Neugebauer
  44. Kay and Dan Parries
  45. Kayla Christensen
  46. Ken and Marcia Retzer
  47. Kevin and Katie Riley
  48. Knight Printing
  49. Lavonne and Jay Liversage
  50. Mark Shaul
  51. Marlene Daniels
  52. Marsh McLennan Agency
  53. McGough Construction
  54. Microsoft
  55. Nancy Hanson
  56. National Hospitality Services
  57. Premium Painting
  58. RD Offutt Company
  59. Rhonda Ness
  60. Richard and Melinda McCartney
  61. RiverHaven Event Center
  62. Robert Gibb & Sons
  63. Robert Hanna
  64. Russ and Nancy Hanson
  65. Samuel and Coralie Wai
  66. Scott and Sue Omdalen
  67. Swanson Cares Foundation
  68. Teresa and Richard Norwig
  69. Thad Swanson
  70. Thomas Tweten
  71. Tim and Tracy LeClair
  72. Tom and Ann Riley
  73. Tom and Karla Thompson
  74. Travis and Jennifer Christopher
  75. Violet Deilke
  76. WalMart Dilworth
  77. Wright Funeral Home
An additional 109+ donors have donated between $1 and $500 to the project. THANK YOU!