Our Vision

The silence of a tranquil, snowy wood, punctuated only by the swish of gliding skis, the delighted squeal of school children imagining what a deer looks like after seeing its tracks embedded in the soft mud, a forest awash in the glorious colors of autumn that frames the walk of solitary hikers, the gurgling sounds of the Root River as it rushes past a child and her mother sitting aside the bank, and the smell of syrup and the buttery taste of pancakes that celebrate the marvel of what maple trees produce — these are the sounds, sights and smells that have been part of the River Bend Nature Center experience for the citizens of Racine County since John F. Kennedy was President.

For almost 50 years, River Bend Nature Center was operated successfully by the Racine YWCA, providing environmental education, outdoor recreation and pleasant memories for thousands of Racine County children, adults and families. Unfortunately, the YWCA needed to sell this precious natural resource in order to fund its core operations. Fortunately, Racine County stepped up and the property was purchased by the county under the condition that a non-profit corporation unrelated to the YWCA could continue River Bend.

Into the Breach

River Bend Nature Center, Inc., is a [501(c)(3)] non-profit corporation formed to rescue River Bend and to continue and expand the mission of outdoor recreation and environmental education. Through a public-private partnership with Racine County, River Bend Nature Center, Inc., will ensure that this resource continues to be a secure and important part of the quality of life in southeast Wisconsin. Owned by the county and operated without tax dollars by RBNC, Inc., the center is self-sustaining through private support, program revenue, special events, and equipment and facilities rental.

Racine County’s Natural Resource

The River Bend setting and buildings are ideal for meetings of small groups, especially those with an outdoor interest. Many Racine area residents had their first experience paddling a canoe, cross-country skiing or participating in a guided bird watch at River Bend. RBNC, Inc., will continue these activities and create new ones for current and future generations.

The 78 acres and two activity buildings provide a very accessible and comfortable setting for novices or experienced outdoors people. The center is comprised of almost 4,000 feet of Root River frontage, river-bottom land, ponds and uplands hardwoods. Miles of hiking trails thread through the varied terrain. Most species of birds and animals native to southeast Wisconsin can be found on the property. Those looking for a few hours of quiet on a weekend or an hour after work will find that River Bend is nearby. River Bend Nature Center is an important amenity of our community — a place to be experienced, enjoyed and remembered for the next 50 years and beyond.


A cadre of experienced and enthusiastic volunteers is back to work at River Bend. Most of them are retired professionals — teachers, engineers and skilled trades people possessing many skills, as well as the energy and a desire to see River Bend revive, grow and improve.

We would love to have you join with us to make sure that River Bend thrives. We need and want your time, your ideas and your financial support. Won’t you help River Bend?