Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Location Minnesota, USA Nearest city Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota Area 53,775 acres (217.62 km2) Established November 18, 1988 Visitors Not available (in 2005) Governing body National Park Service along with other private organizations.
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area protects a 72-mile (116 km) and 54,000-acre (22,000 ha) corridor along the Mississippi River from the cities of Dayton and Ramsey, Minnesota to just downstream of Hastings, Minnesota. This includes the stretch of Mississippi River which flows through Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. This stretch of the upper Mississippi River includes natural, historical, recreational, cultural, scenic, scientific, and economic resources of national significance. This is the only national park dedicated exclusively to the Mississippi River. It is located in parts of Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties, all within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is a long name and therefore is frequently referred to as MNRRA (often pronounced like "minnra") or MISS (the four letter code assigned to the park by the National Park Service).
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MISS) was established in 1988 as a new unique type of National Park known as a partnership park. Unlike traditional national parks, MISS is not a major land owner and therefore does not have control over land use. MISS works with dozens of "partners" (local, state, and federal governments, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals) who own land along the river or who have an interest in the Mississippi River to achieve the National Park Service's mission to protect and preserve for future generations.
Some of the most prominent attractions within the park include the St. Anthony Falls Historic District (including Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater, the Stone Arch Bridge, and Mill Ruins Park), the Historic Fort Snelling and the adjacent Fort Snelling State Park, and Minnehaha Falls. There are many additional attractions, trails, and programs all within the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area.
The Mississippi River Visitor Center, located inside the Science Museum of Minnesota, is staffed by National Park Rangers who are available daily to help people who want to experience the Mississippi River.
Each year, the rangers manage community activities such as interpretive sessions, bike rides, and movies, that help to educate the local community about the natural and human history of the area.
Places to visit
The park's website lists the following locations or features as partner sites.
Partner Site River Mile Management Level Managing Body Area Date Opened to Public Summary Akin Riverside Park  ~871.7
City City of Anoka Parks & Recreation 6.5 acres (2.6 ha) Interprets Anoka city history just above the mouth of the Rum River. The 1914 Windego Park Auditorium/Open Air Theater is on the NRHP. Ard Godfrey House  ~854.5
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board,
The Woman's Club of Minneapolis
1979 Built 1849, the oldest wood-frame house in Minneapolis. Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts  ~862
County/Non-profit Anoka County Parks, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts 1988 Supports local artists with exhibits and classes in a renovated 1847 inn. Located in Manomin County Park. Battle Creek Regional Park ~834–837
County Ramsey County Parks and Recreation 1,840 acres (740 ha) 1925 Park comprises three parcels, including a ravine where Dakotas won a battle against Ojibwe intent on attacking Kaposia village in 1842. Boom Island Park  854.8
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 22.5 acres (9.1 ha) 1987 Once the site of log booms to sort lumber to the owning sawmill, this former island features a marina, riverboat tours, and an ornamental lighthouse. The Brickyards of St. Paul ~841.5
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation N/A 2007 Kiln ruins and shale quarries remain from a brickmaking company that operated from 1894 to the 1970s. Fossil collecting and ice climbing are allowed in the quarries with a permit. Part of Lilydale Regional Park. Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary ~838.5
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 29 acres (12 ha) 2005 Rehabilitated from a former trainyard and industrial site. Includes Wakan Tipi/Carver's Cave. Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (East)  865–867.7
County Anoka County Parks 446 acres (180 ha) 1994 Features pedestrians and non-motorized traffic access to the 1913 Coon Rapids Dam, plus river and lake fishing and a visitor center. Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (West)  865–867.7
Park district Three Rivers Park District 160 acres (65 ha) 1969 Features pedestrians and non-motorized traffic access to the 1913 Coon Rapids Dam, plus a visitor center. Crosby Farm Regional Park  842.3–845.4
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 736 acres (298 ha) 1962 Restored bottomland hardwood forest and wetlands that were farmed from 1858 to 1962. Father Hennepin Bluffs Park  ~853.7
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 8 acres (3.2 ha) 1979 Father Louis Hennepin, the first European to describe St. Anthony Falls, saw them from this site in 1680. First Bridge Park  ~854.4
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 22 acres (8.9 ha) 2001 Interpretive signage and public art beneath the Hennepin Avenue Bridge commemorate the site of the first permanent bridge crossing the Mississippi, built in 1855. Fort Snelling State Park  843.9
State Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2,931 acres (1,186 ha) 1961 Includes Pike Island and bottomland hardwood forest at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. Fountain Cave ~841.6
N/A N/A N/A N/A A historical marker shows the former location of a sandstone cave, site of the first building in St. Paul (Pierre Parrant's tavern) and later a tourist attraction. The cave was ruined by sewage and the entrance was sealed in 1960 during road construction. Gluek Park  ~856.2
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 2.9 acres (1.2 ha) 1994 Established on the site of the 1857 Gluek Brewery following its demolition in 1970. Gold Medal Park  ~853.6
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 7.5 acres (3.0 ha) 2007 Selected as the future site of a memorial to the victims of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse. Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area  821
State Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 237 acres (96 ha) 1998 Preserves a sandy prairie with dunes and blowouts on river terraces. Grey Cloud Island 821–825
City Grey Cloud Island Township 2,000 acres (810 ha) N/A An island named after Grey Cloud Woman, a 19th century Mdewakanton. The 1846 Grey Cloud Lime Kiln is on the NRHP. Harriet Island Regional Park  839.5–840.5
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 1900 Named for educator Harriet Bishop and now connected to shore, this former island has long been the site of public amenities and festivals. The Harriet Island Pavilion is on the NRHP. Hidden Falls Regional Park  845.4–847.4
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 134 acres (54 ha) 1887 One of St. Paul's original parks, designed by Horace Cleveland. Features a spring-fed waterfall in a stone channel built by the Works Progress Administration. Historic Fort Snelling  845.5
State Minnesota Historical Society Begun as a wilderness outpost in 1819 at the strategic confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, and staffed by the U.S. Army through World War II, when it served as a major processing center for new servicemen. Now a National Historic Landmark. Indian Mounds Regional Park  ~838
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 79 acres (32 ha) 1893 Preserves six 2,000-year-old burial mounds from the Hopewell tradition. Islands of Peace County Park  861
County Anoka County Parks 22 acres (8.9 ha) Comprises three islands, one connected to the east bank by a bridge, the other two accessible only by water. Part of Riverfront Regional Park. John H. Stevens House Museum  ~847.6
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 1985 Built in 1850, the home of John H. Stevens was the first wood-frame house west of the Mississippi and the political and social hub of the young Minneapolis. Originally near St. Anthony Falls, it has been moved to Minnehaha Park. Kaposia Indian Site N/A N/A N/A N/A c. 1750 A seasonal Mdewakanton Dakota village was situated below present-day Indian Mounds Regional Park until resettlement following the 1853 Treaty of Mendota. Kaposia Landing  834.8–835.7
City South St. Paul Parks & Recreation 87 acres (35 ha) 2008 Developed over a reclaimed construction landfill. Includes an off-leash dog park. Kaposia Park ~835.5
City South St. Paul Parks & Recreation 85 acres (34 ha) Features recreational amenities, including a disc golf course. Lake Rebecca Park  ~814–815
City Hastings Parks and Recreation 215 acres (87 ha) 1995 Formerly called Hastings River Flats Park, and adjacent to Lock and Dam No. 2. Lambert's Landing  ~838.8
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 0.3 acres (0.12 ha) 1937 Historic site of St. Paul's major steamboat landing, the head of navigation on the Mississippi. Leonard H. Neiman Sports Complex  ~846
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 2003 Public sports fields developed on the extended grounds of Fort Snelling. Lilydale Regional Park  841.3–843
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 384 acres (155 ha) 1971 A former townsite now reverted to floodplain forest. Lock and Dam No. 1  847.6
Federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers N/A 1917 Tours are offered of the lock and dam that extended the head of navigation to Minneapolis. Lock and Dam No. 2  815.2
Federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers N/A 1930 Visitors can watch from an observation deck as river traffic passes through this lock adjacent to Hastings. Longfellow House Hospitality Center  ~847.8
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 2001 Built in 1907, this 2/3 scale replica of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's house in Massachusetts now serves as the information center for Minnehaha Park and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Manomin County Park  862
County Anoka County Parks 15 acres (6.1 ha) 1967 Includes the mouth of Rice Creek and the historic Banfill Tavern, now an art center. Named for the former Manomin County. Marshall Terrace Park  ~856.7
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 6.5 acres (2.6 ha) 1914 Offers recreational amenities in a quiet neighborhood park. Meeker Island Lock and Dam Historic Site 850.2
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation 2007 The first lock and dam on the Mississippi only operated from 1907–1912, when it was submerged by Lock and Dam No. 1. The NRHP-listed remnants are visible from a riverside path during low water. Mill City Museum  ~853.8
State Minnesota Historical Society 2003 Features exhibits on the milling history of Minneapolis, within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, a National Historic Landmark built in 1880. Mill Ruins Park  ~853.9
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 2001 Contains the excavated remains of the tailraces and canals that powered the 19th Century milling industry that spurred the development of Minneapolis. Minnehaha Regional Park  847–847.6
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 193 acres (78 ha) 1889 Surrounds Minnehaha Falls and contains several sculptures and historic structures. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge  N/A
Federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 14,000 acres (5,700 ha) 1976 Several units strung along the lower Minnesota River provide natural habitat and outdoor recreation. Mississippi Gorge Regional Park  ~848–852
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, St. Paul Parks and Recreation Provides hiking and biking paths along the only gorge on the Mississippi. Mississippi River Visitor Center  839.7
Federal National Park Service 2,000 sq ft (190 m2) 2003 MNRRA's main visitor center, located in the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota. Nicollet Island Park  ~854.5
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 26.8 acres (10.8 ha) 1946 Located on historic Nicollet Island, with a rental facility in a renovated 1893 factory and views of the 1858 dam above St. Anthony Falls. North Mississippi Regional Park  858–860.5
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 67.2 acres (27.2 ha) 1954 Features a visitor center operated by Three Rivers Park District. Peninsula Point Two Rivers Historical Park  ~871.5
City City of Anoka Parks & Recreation 8.3 acres (3.4 ha) 1995 Features interpretive signage, park amenities, and a state champion green ash tree at the mouth of the Rum River. Pilot Knob ~845.3
County Dakota County Parks 25 acres (10 ha) A landmark to the Dakota and early settlers, this hill overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. Pine Bend Bluff Scientific and Natural Area  ~825.3
State Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 256 acres (104 ha) Oak forests and dry prairies on these 200-foot (61 m) bluffs form one of the largest undisturbed natural areas in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. River Warren Falls N/A N/A N/A N/A 11,700 – 9,400 years ago A massive prehistoric waterfall on the Glacial River Warren slowly eroded upstream, carving the Mississippi Gorge and ultimately devolving into St. Anthony Falls and Minnehaha Falls. Riverfront Regional Park  859–860.5
County Anoka County Parks 139 acres (56 ha) 1987 Features riverfront paths and a rental facility in a renovated 1880s farmhouse. Riverside Park  ~852
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 40 acres (16 ha) 1884 Site of several firsts in Minneapolis park amenities, from the first playground and basketball court in the 1900s to a full-sized soccer field and an off-leash dog park in recent years. Science Museum of Minnesota  839.7
Non-profit Science Museum of Minnesota 370,000 sq ft (34,000 m2) 1999 A museum providing exhibits, education, and research on natural sciences, technology, and culture. The MNRRA visitor center is located in the lobby. Sibley House Historic Site  ~845
State Minnesota Historical Society 1910 The site includes the 1838 home of fur-trader turned first state governor Henry Hastings Sibley (the oldest European house in Minnesota), the 1840 home of trader Jean-Baptiste Faribault, and an 1843 American Fur Company store. Spring Lake Park Reserve  815.2–823
County Dakota County Parks 1,200 acres (490 ha) Two separate units overlook a spring-fed lake joined to the Mississippi by dam-raised water levels. Amenities include an archery trail, community garden plots, model airplane field, and several rental facilities. St. Anthony Falls 854
Federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers N/A 1937 The only waterfall on the entire Mississippi powered a major milling district from the 1860s to the 1930s. In 1937 the falls were about to erode into rapids and were stabilized with a concrete spillway. St. Croix National Scenic Riverway  811.5
Federal National Park Service 92,738 acres (37,530 ha) 1968 A tributary of the Mississippi, the largely undeveloped St. Croix River on the Wisconsin–Minnesota border is protected as a separate unit of the National Park system. Stone Arch Bridge  853.9
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 58,000 sq ft (5,400 m2) 1994 Built in 1883 for James J. Hill's Great Northern Railway, this 2,100-foot-long (640 m) Historic Civil Engineering Landmark was converted to a walking and biking path in 1994. Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam  854
Federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers N/A 1963 Free tours are offered of the facility that finally extended navigation above St. Anthony Falls. Vento View Overlook ~841.6
City St. Paul Parks and Recreation N/A 2001 Congressman Bruce Vento, a dedicated environmental advocate, is honored at this river valley overlook . Part of Cherokee Regional Park. Vermillion River Bottoms 795.5 State Minnesota Department of Natural Resources The lower Vermillion River flows through floodplain forest before emptying into the Mississippi. Water Power Park  ~853.8
City Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 1.4 acres (0.57 ha) 2007 Interprets the country's first commercial hydroelectric power plant.
- ^ National Park Service (2011-02-16). "Mississippi National River and Recreation Area: Plan Your Visit". U.S. Department of the Interior. http://www.nps.gov/miss/planyourvisit/index.htm. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
- ^ National Park Service. Mississippi River Companion. U.S. Department of the Interior.
- ^ a b c d e All data come from respective website or MNRRA "Plan Your Visit" page unless otherwise noted.
- ^ a b c d Empson, Donald (2006). The Street Where You Live: A Guide to the Place Names of St. Paul. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816647293.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Smith, David C. (2008). "Parks, Lakes, Trails and So Much More: An Overview of the Histories of MPRB Properties". Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. http://www.minneapolisparks.org/documents/parks/Parks_Lakes_Trails_Much_More.pdf. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
- ^ a b c d "History, nature intersect as St. Paul rediscovers an urban oasis". Friends of the Mississippi River. 2008-08. http://www.fmr.org/news/current/lilydale_park-2008-08. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
- ^ a b Coon Rapids Regional Dam Commission (2011-02-28). Coon Rapids Regional Dam Commission Report. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BzhQh8tJ-fYANGI0YzdjN2MtY2EwOS00ODIyLWI0ZjktN2VhMmNjZWQwOTA2&hl=en. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
- ^ "Grey Cloud Island Township". Washington Couny Communities. Washington County Historical Society. http://projects.wchsmn.org/communities/grey-cloud-island-township/. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- ^ Saint Paul Parks & Recreation (1998-01). A Guide to... Hidden Falls Regional Park.
- ^ a b Furst, Randy (1987-06-26). "Grand openings planned for two riverfront parks". Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.).
- ^ "Hastings River Flats Restoration". Friends of the Mississippi River. http://www.fmr.org/projects/hastings_river_flats_park. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
- ^ Nelson, Tim (2007-08-24). "River history reclaimed: A new St. Paul park makes accessible the remains of the historic Meeker Island Lock and Dam". Saint Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.).
- ^ a b Jefferson, Jennifer (2003-08-04). "New center celebrates Mississippi River: Science Museum facility opens to public Saturday". Saint Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.).
- ^ "The Sibley House". Friends of the Sibley Historical Site. http://www.sibley-friends.org/sibleyhouse.htm. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
- ^ Ferraro, Nick (2010-06-21). "History sleuths search buried dirt for clues of ancient people in Dakota County". Saint Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.).
- Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
- Friends of the Mississippi River (organizes volunteer restoration and education events in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area)
National Recreation Areas of the United States Administered by the
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other agenciesAllegheny • Angel Peak • Arapaho • Datil Well • Flaming Gorge • Grand Island • Hells Canyon • Land Between The Lakes • Moosalamoo • Mount Baker • Mount Rogers • Oregon Dunes • Orilla Verde • Pine Ridge • Rattlesnake • Sawtooth • Smith River • Spring Mountains • Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks • Valley of Fires • White Mountains • White Rocks • Wild Rivers • Winding Stair Mountain
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