Overlook at Minnemishinona Falls Protected (MN)

October 27, 2006
Minnesota

St. Paul, MN, 10/25/2006: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced the transfer of three-acres containing Minnemishinona Falls to Nicollet County for use as a scenic overlook. The transfer will take place on Thursday, Oct. 26.

"This 42-foot tall waterfall will no longer be a hidden treasure. Now the public will have access to the waterfall and be able to enjoy beautiful views of the Minnesota River Valley," declared TPL Project Manager Bob McGillivray.

TPL acquired Minnemishinona Falls on October 27 of last year from landowners Maureen and Gary Warmington, then leased the property to Nicollet County with the County assuming management obligations for the property. Until now, the falls could not be seen by the general public because they were surrounded by private property.

Providing historical perspective on the site encompassing the falls, Michael Wagner, Public Works Director of Nicollet County commented, "In recent years, as the eight miles of Nicollet County 41 that go by the falls was reconstructed and officially designated as an alternate route for the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway, new interest was expressed to find a way for the falls to become assessable to the public.

"The Warmingtons eventually decided to sell the entire parcel and with the necessary 'immediate' assistance provided by the Trust for Public Land, this opportunity for the falls to become publicly owned became possible."

A successful joint public-private fundraising effort made the transfer possible without significant cost to the county.

Approximately 80%, or $264,000 of the $330,000 purchase price came from federal transportation "enhancement program" dollars, $50,000 came from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation of Rochester, Minn., and $16,000 came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resouces's (DNR) Natural and Scenic Area Grant Program. Xcel Energy Foundation also provided a grant to TPL to support its work in connection with the project.

"It isn't every day that we have an opportunity to protect a waterfall for the benefit of the public. Minnemishinona Falls has significant scenic, geological, educational and cultural value. The Minnesota River Valley is a resource that attracts visitors from throughout the state and beyond, and acquisition of the falls is a positive step in protecting that resource. We are happy to be a partner with the Trust for Public Land, the Department of Transportation, and Nicollet County in acquiring this beautiful site for future generations," stated Wayne Sames, Local Grants Manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who was involved in the project for the state.

This sale completes the transaction that conserves a unique natural resource for public use and enjoyment. Nicollet County plans to use MinnemishInona Falls as a scenic overlook.Relatively unknown Minnemishinona Falls measures 42 feet high, making it three feet taller than its more popular counter part, Minneopa Falls, located in a state park on the opposite side of the Minnesota River. Located just beyond encroaching housing developments of North Mankato, the falls sits on a three-acre parcel and will provide hikers, bicyclists and day-trippers views of the Minnesota River Valley north of Mankato.