Minnemishinona Falls Protected (MN)

North Mankato, MN, 10/27/2005 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced it has ensured a local natural treasure withheld from public access for decades will be conserved for the community to enjoy forever. Earlier today, the nonprofit land conservation group purchased the distinctive Minnemishinona Falls property for $330,000, which will be sold to Nicollet County as the site of a future public scenic overlook for the south central Minnesota community. TPL will hold the property until it has helped the County raise the necessary funds to purchase it at cost.

The relatively unknown Minnemishinona Falls is a hidden gem situated on a three-acre parcel that provides panoramic views of the Minnesota River Valley and full access to the waterfall. It has been privately-owned and inaccessible to the public for decades. Measuring 42 feet, Minnemishinona Falls is three feet taller than its more popular counterpart, Minneopa Falls, which is located on the other side of the Minnesota River Valley within a publically accessible state park. Located just beyond rapidly-developing North Mankato, Minnemishinona Falls will serve as a regional attraction for the greater Mankato/North Mankato area.

For some time Nicollet County has been interested in acquiring Minnemishinona Falls but lacked the funds to purchase it outright. Earlier this year, County officials asked the Trust for Public Land to assist with the effort. TPL staff was able to negotiate with the landowner to purchase the land and hold it, giving the County time to secure funding.

“The Trust for Public Land is pleased to have made this conservation effort possible for Nicollet County,” says TPL project manager Bob McGillivray. “Minnemishinona Falls is an exceptional natural wonder in this region and it deserves to be enjoyed by the public.”

On Oct. 14, Nicollet County Board of Commissioners officially approved the leasing of the Minnemishinona Falls property until the County can purchase it. Nicollet County expects to raise enough funding to purchase the property from TPL in late 2006. The County will add a parking area and safety fencing before the Falls will be opened to the public.

County Commissioner Jim Stenson has been particularly supportive in the effort to acquire the Falls for the community: “Future generations residing in the area will have the privilege of experiencing Minnemishinona Falls long after we’re gone. The educational, recreational, and scenic benefits of the Falls will be realized well into the future.”

In addition to negotiating the purchase and acquiring the property, the Trust for Public Land also plans to assist the County in raising the money to buy the Minnemishinona Falls property. TPL will help the County apply for several grants from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and will reach out to raise private funds for this project.

“Places like Minnemishinona Falls are uncommon in Minnesota,” says TPL Minnesota state office director Susan Schmidt. “Conserving this beautiful natural space is indeed a regional effort worthy of significant state and local support.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit land-conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Established in 1972, TPL is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for public enjoyment and use. In Minnesota, TPL has protected more than 27,500 acres valued at more than $46 million including the recent protection of Caponi Art Park in Eagan, an addition to the future Neenah Creek Regional Park in St. Cloud and the creation of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary in downtown St. Paul. TPL depends on contributions from supporters to continue protecting land throughout the state. Visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org