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Working to protect the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities area
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) — a National Park corridor that extends from Dayton and Ramsey, downstream to Hastings — has nearly doubled its landholdings overnight. Established in 1988 to operate as a partnership park with over 30 state and local government partners, MNRRA owned just 34 acres of land in the corridor (all islands), until earlier this month when ownership of the 27-acre former Bureau of Mines property officially became part of the National Park.
Nestled between Minnehaha Park and Fort Snelling State Park, the site connects key parks, trails and historic places. Long the subject of debate and controversy, public ownership and protection of the Bureau of Mines site is good news all around. Coldwater Spring is a beloved and historic part of this site for many community members, including Native Americans who consider the spring sacred.
Plans for the site include demolition of the buildings, contamination cleanup, soil reclamation and restoration of prairie and other appropriate native plant communities. Public trails and access will be included and the site's rich and varied history will be interpreted.
The Record of Decision (available on MNRRA's website) was the final step in the Environmental Impact Statement done for the property in anticipation of transferring ownership. The decision puts into action the preferred alternative — to restore the land to open space and park. The Record of Decision also designated the National Park Service as the management authority for the property.
Stay tuned for updates on federal appropriations and planning for the site.- Irene Jones, River Corridor Program Director
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