Central Lakes State Trail
The Central Lakes State Trail is a paved recreational rail trail in central Minnesota, USA, running along a former Burlington Northern Railroad line. The trail is marked with mileposts every mile, corresponding with the mile markers of the former railroad line. Snowmobile use is allowed on the trail in conditions permitting; the 55-mile trail begins in Osakis at the western end of the Lake Wobegon Trail and runs parallel to Interstate 94 before ending in Fergus Falls. This trail passes through the towns of Nelson, Garfield, Evanston, Melby and Dalton; the Central Lakes and Lake Wobegon trails combine for a continuous 117-mile trail. Central Lakes State Trail Central Lakes Trail Association
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is a state park unit of Minnesota, USA, being developed to rehabilitate a portion of the Cuyuna Range where mining pits and piles of waste rock were left behind after decades of open-pit mining for iron ore. Abandoned by mining companies more than 20 years ago, the state recreation area consists of regenerated vegetation and clear lakes that draw a wide range of recreation enthusiasts; the park is located off Minnesota State Highway 210, northeast of Brainerd. The Croft Mine Historical Park city-run, is now part of the state recreation area; the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail is a paved 6.1-mile path that stretches through the multi-unit Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. In June 2011 30 miles of single track trails for mountain biking opened to the public; the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Park has been designed for both recreational and experienced mountain bikers. This park is endorsed by the International Mountain Bicycling Association as a Ride Center. Media related to Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area at Wikimedia Commons Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Croft Mine Historical Park - Explore Minnesota
Saint Croix State Park
St. Croix State Park is a state park in Pine County, Minnesota, USA; the park follows the shore of the St. Croix River for 21 miles and contains the last 7 miles of the Kettle River. At 33,895 acres it is the largest Minnesota state park, it was developed as a Recreational Demonstration Area in the 1930s, is one of the finest surviving properties of this type in the nation. 164 structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration survive, the largest collection of New Deal projects in Minnesota. As a historic district they were listed on the National Register of Historic Places and proclaimed a National Historic Landmark in 1997; the St. Croix River Valley was carved by meltwater during the last glacial period circa 10,000 BC; the water deposited a variety of sediments, which compose over 30 different types of soil within the park. Some soils are sandy while others are made of red or yellow clay; the historic Yellowbanks area of the park is named for its distinctive deposit of yellow clay exposed by the St. Croix River.
The bedrock of the area is buried under 75 to 100 feet of these glacial till deposits. However the underlying basalt and sandstone is exposed in one area along the Kettle River known as the Highbanks, where a final ancient flood of meltwater scoured away the sediments. In addition to the two rivers, at least ten other streams flow through the park, creating a watershed of hundreds of square miles. St. Croix State Park is located on the eastern edge of the Mille Lacs Uplands. Dominated by red and white pines, the vegetation has been altered by logging and farming; the present secondary forest is a mix of pines, black spruce, sugar maple, basswood. More open areas form meadows, oak savanna, jack pine barrens. Numerous lakes and streams support wetland and riparian zone plants. Wetlands with no outlet and high acidity support tamarack bogs. Large mammals found in the park include white-tailed deer, raccoons and red foxes, bobcats, black bears, timber wolves. Birds include the ruffed grouse, flycatcher, eagles and osprey.
They roam along the St. Croix River. A tornado hit part of the park on July 4, 1977. Straight-line winds toppled trees over hundreds of acres on July 11, 2008 and again on July 1, 2011. In the latter storm, many of the historical structures were damaged. However, there were no injuries as the park was closed due to the 2011 Minnesota state government shutdown. Evidence of Native American occupation in the park and the St. Croix River Valley has been found dating back 5,000 years; the region was inhabited by the Dakota people by the late 17th century, when French traders began exploring the region. However the Dakota were soon displaced by the Ojibwe. Fur traders became more numerous, a trading post was established within what is now St. Croix State Park. Following an 1837 treaty with the Ojibwe the region was opened up to logging, although harvesting in the park did not begin until in the 19th century. From 1894 to 1898 the Empire Lumber Company operated a rail line, the Flemming Railroad, to transport logs cut farther inland to the St. Croix River.
The line ended at Yellowbanks where the logs were rolled down the steep bluffs and floated to sawmills downriver. St. John's Landing, at the northeast end of the park, is named for Ed St. John, who opened a popular boarding house there for lumbermen; the area was logged out by 1915 and farmers were attracted to the newly cleared land. However the sandy soil was poor and not productive enough to make a living. Most settlers moved away and much of the land was tax-forfeited. Pine County had the most tax delinquent property in Minnesota and suffered abject environmental degradation from cultivation and wildfires like the Great Hinckley Fire. In 1934 the area was selected for a Recreational Demonstration Area, a New Deal program that provided jobs, paid farmers for poor cropland, created outdoor recreation opportunities near urban areas. An initial 18,000 acres of land were transferred to the U. S. Department of the Interior, as the National Park Service would direct the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration.
A CCC camp was constructed at Yellowbanks, populated first by Company #2762 and #2706. Crews built the main park road, following the old Flemming Railroad route, another 25 miles of road. Trails and scenic overlooks were established. From Camp Yellowbanks the crews used sandstone and lumber from within the park to develop five separate areas for visitors. First was park headquarters, second Riverview Campground and a lodge, now the interpretive center; the other three were group centers constructed by WPA crews: Norway Point for boys, St. John's Landing for girls, Head of the Rapids for handicapped children; some crews planted pine and hardwood trees to begin reforestation while others conducted wildlife and fire protection work. A CCC crew built a fire tower in 1937; as additional properties were added, St. Croix Recreational Demonstration Area grew to 30,000 acres, only smaller than the country's largest RDA at Custer State Park in South Dakota; as planned following federal development, St. Croix Recreational Demonstration Area was transferred to the state to become St. Croix State Park in 1943.
The fire tower was staffed during fire season until 1981, when aerial surveys became the preferred spotting method. St. John's Landing Group Center is now a camp for the Minnesota Conservation Corps; the St. Croix and Kettle Rivers are navigable by kayak; the St. Croix is fl
Banning State Park
Banning State Park is a state park of Minnesota, USA, stretched along 10 miles of the Kettle River near Sandstone in Pine County. The centerpiece of the park is 1.5 miles of churning rapids, some up to Class IV. The daring kayakers and canoeists who shoot Blueberry Slide, Mother's Delight, Dragon's Tooth, Little Banning, Hell's Gate each spring attract spectators to the park. Landbound visitors can hike along the state's first Wild and Scenic River amid dramatic sandstone rock formations, large potholes carved by the river, the remains of a historic quarry. Other features are Robinson Ice Cave; the park is located directly off Interstate 35. The park lies in a narrow valley worn by the Kettle River; the topsoil is thin and in the center of the park the river has cut down through Precambrian sandstone known as the Hinckley Formation and on into the bedrock, resulting in a gorge—up to 40 feet tall at Hell's Gate—and 1.5 miles of rapids. The park is notable for its numerous glacial potholes, smooth shafts scoured into rock.
These were formed at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation when the river was swollen by the melting ice, powerful eddies sent debris swirling around and around drilling shafts into the streambed. The Log Creek Arches in the northern section are potholes whose bottoms have been worn away on one side. Robinson Ice Cave is a 200-foot deep cave in the bluffs between Sandstone; the cave is not open to the public and the entrance is gated to protect the little brown bats, big brown bats, Keen's myotis bats that hibernate in it. In winter large stalagmites of ice form on the cave floor, but in a strict sense it is not an ice cave because the ice does not persist year-round. Below the rapids, the valley once again begins to widen. Away from the river valley, the topography is level to gently-rolling glacial till plain; the vegetation in this part of the Mille Lacs Uplands is still recovering from 19th century human industry and forest fires. The forest was logged, around the quarry the ground was stripped bare.
Today middle-successional species like birch and aspen are more prevalent than the Norway and eastern white pines that would have dominated the area. 184 bird species have been sighted in Banning State Park, including ruffed grouse. Spotted mammals include white-tailed deer, black bear, coyote, raccoon and snowshoe hare. 17 species of reptiles and amphibians and 34 species of mammals live in this park. The durable, pink-colored sandstone exposed by the river was an ideal construction material, in 1892 quarrying began after the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad laid a spur to the outcrop; the 1894 Great Hinckley Fire was a major setback, but quarrying bounced back and two years a town arose just outside the quarry. It was named Banning after the president of the railroad, whose tracks allowed the stones to be shipped to St. Paul and beyond; the quarrying frenzy was over by 1905, a victim of national factors. Within the quarry most of the extractable high-quality sandstone was gone, there was a nationwide architectural move away from stone to structural steel.
An asphalt company lingered on until 1912. The railroad company removed its tracks that decade. In 1959 the Pine County Historical Society interested the state in acquiring the Banning ghost town as a historical site. Given the obvious scenic value of the area, the proposal evolved into a call for a new state park. A bill to this effect was ratified in 1963, although the state didn't acquire enough land to begin developing recreational facilities until 1967. An undeveloped northern section was added in 1986. In 1995 a dam at the southern tip of the park was removed, restoring a waterfall and another series of rapids; the remains of the town, which prompted the creation of the park, are no longer visible. The Kettle River is a destination for whitewater paddling including rafting and kayaking. Within the park there are two boat ramps. Much of the river is Class I, with portages around the rapids. Fishing is available along the Kettle River, which has held and produced state-record sturgeon. Banning State Park's drive-in campground has 33 sites, a camper cabin, showers.
There are four canoe campsites spaced along the river. Banning State Park staff manage a campground within nearby General C. C. Andrews State Forest that boasts 38 drive-in sites, 2 walk-in sites, a group tent camp; the park has 17 miles of hiking trails. A paved bicycling path connects with the Willard Munger State Trail. In winter 11 miles of trail are groomed for cross-country skiing and 6 miles are open for snowmobiling. Banning State Park
Jay Cooke State Park
Jay Cooke State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, protecting the lower reaches of the St. Louis River; the park is located about 10 miles southwest of Duluth and is one of the ten most visited state parks in Minnesota. The western half of the park contains part of a 13-mile gorge; this was a major barrier to Native Americans and early Europeans traveling by canoe, which they bypassed with the challenging Grand Portage of the St. Louis River; the river was a vital link connecting the Mississippi waterways to the west with the Great Lakes to the east. Today Minnesota State Highway 210 runs through Jay Cooke State Park; the 9 miles of the route between Carlton and Highway 23—which include the park—are designated the Rushing Rapids Parkway, a state scenic byway. The park is named for Pennsylvania financier Jay Cooke, who had developed a nearby power plant, still in use; the Grand Portage trail and three districts of 1930s park structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The first 2,350 acres of land on which the park is situated were donated to the state by the Saint Louis Power Company in 1915. The park remained undeveloped until 1933, when a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established on the site; the CCC camp built a rustic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River just downstream from some torrential rapids and waterfalls; this camp built a picnic shelter. The camp was disbanded in 1935, but a second camp was set up in 1939; this camp built the River Inn, which now houses the visitor center. This camp was disbanded in 1942, shortly. In 1945 the state began to add more land to the park giving it its current size of 8,818 acres. In 2012 the Duluth area experienced a record-setting rainstorm that resulted in flooding that filled the gorge with debris, devastated the park's roads and trails, destroyed the historic Swinging Bridge that crosses the St. Louis River. By 2014, extensive repair work had repaired most of the trails and replaced the bridge, further work is ongoing.
In June 2015 the park celebrated its 100-year anniversary. Jay Cooke is noted for its Rustic Style historical structures; these structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1933 and 1942. All the major landmarks in Jay Cooke are built with local basalt or gabbro stone and dark planks and logs. Most famous of all landmarks is the swinging bridge, one of only two suspension bridges in any Minnesota state park; the bridge was designed by Oscar Newstrom. It runs 126 feet of which run over the river itself, it is supported by two large concrete pylons faced with gabbro. The bank of the river near the River Inn is too steep to walk along, so anyone who wishes to hike the length of the river must cross this bridge. In the major floods of June 20, 2012, the swinging bridge was damaged. According to an early report from the Pine Journal, at least one stone pillar and half of another were washed away, the bridge decking was "twisted and mangled."The CCC structures are grouped into three historic districts which are separately listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
These districts are the Rustic Style District, including the River Swinging Bridge. Minnesota geography is dominated by three major watersheds which carry the surface waters of the state north to Hudson Bay, east to the Great Lakes, south into the Mississippi River; the rivers and associated lakes within these drainage basins describe the route geography of the thoroughfares used by American Indians for centuries, by European explorers and fur traders. But water travel was subject to interruption caused by rapids, falls, or shallows, not all of the major lakes and rivers were interconnected, making it necessary to portage from time to time; the earliest North American fur trading did not include long distance transportation of the furs after they were obtained by trade with the Indians. But Coureur des bois achieved business advantages by traveling deeper into the wilderness and trading there. By 1681, the French authorities decided to control the traders; as the trading process moved deeper into the wilderness, transportation of the furs became a larger part of the fur trading business process.
The authorities began a process of issuing permits. Those travelers associated with the canoe transportation part of the licensed endeavor became known as voyageurs, a term which means "traveler" in French; the rocky gorge of the St. Louis River was not navigable to canoes, so Native Americans blazed a 6.5-mile portage around it. The voyageurs employed it too and dubbed it the "Grand Portage of the St. Louis." It was a rough trail of steep hills and swamps that began at the foot of the rapids above the present day Fond du Lac neighborhood and climbed some 450 feet to the present-day city of Carlton. Above Carlton travelers continued on to Lake Vermilion and the Rainy River. Or they may have traveled southwest up the East Savanna River, portaged the grueling six mile long Savanna Portage, paddled on to the Mississippi River; the Sa
Dakota Rail Regional Trail
The Dakota Rail Trail runs 26.5 miles from Wayzata to Mayer, Minnesota. Heading west from Wayzata the first 13 miles are in Hennepin County and the next 13.5 miles are in Carver County, Minnesota. Along the way it runs through many towns including St. Bonifacius; the line was charted 1885 by James J Hill, the St. Paul and Pacific Railway Great Northern Railway, it was known as the "Hutch Spur". Great Northern merged with Northern Pacific Railway. Burlington Northern sold the line to Dakota Rail in 1985, where it operated both freight and dinner trains. In 1995, RailAmerica purchased the Dakota Rail; the last train left Hutchinson in 2001. It was bought up by Carver County and McLeod County. Despite being more than a decade since the rail line was abandoned, there are still remnants of the past railroad use including an engine house in Spring Park, various trestles, a rail spur in Mound, a rail spur at a scrapyard in Hutchinson, a dead-end track from the Wayzata Subdivision jutting to the west and ending at the beginning of the Dakota Rail Trail.
In 2008, Hennepin County began building the Dakota Rail Trail. It was completed from Wayzata to St. Bonifacius in July 2009. In spring 2010, Carver County began construction of the section from St. Bonifacius to Mayer; the trail section runs 7 miles. It opened May 21, 2011. Carver County will extend the trail in 2012 from Mayer, west through New Germany to the Carver/McLeod County Line; the former railroad property runs west to Hutchinson MN, but plans are not known at this time for the future trail development west of Carver County. The most loved bridge is the bridge over Crystal Bay in Minnetonka Beach, nicknamed the Arcola Trestle, it consists of several spans of trestles with 2 Through Plate Girder sections. Another popular one is the Seton Channel Bridge in Spring Park, it is similar to the Arcola Trestle. A couple more are: Tanger Lake Trestle, Orono Lake Waconia Trestle, Lake Waconia http://www.co.carver.mn.us/departments/PW/parks/dakota_rail_regional_trail.asp http://www.startribune.com/local/west/46585202.html http://www.startribune.com/local/west/121818529.html http://www.wayzata.com/dakota-rail-trail