Friday, May 12, 2017

Grand opening May 20 for new segment of Mississippi River Trail. The 4.3-mile segment connects Spring Lake Park Reserve to Hastings.

Dakota County is celebrating the newest segment of the Mississippi River Trail through Spring Lake Park Reserve with a grand opening event Saturday, May 20. Enjoy a variety of free activities including bike rides, birding lessons, live raptors, music and more.
The event is scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. near Schaar's Bluff Gathering Center in Spring Lake Park Reserve. The first 250 attendees will receive a commemorative mug. Parking is free in the park. 
The event will feature food trucks, pedicab tours, bikes to test ride from Valley Bike and Ski, raptors from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, activities for kids, and music from the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers. A community bike ride is schedule before the event at 8: 15 a.m. beginning at the Hastings YMCA. The five-mile ride will take participants to the event. A bike corral will be available to safely check-in and store bikes. 
Hastings Moms on the Run is hosting a community run/walk on the trail prior to the grand opening event. Participants should meet at Schaar's Bluff Gathering Center at 8 a.m. Join the fitness group to run, walk or participate in a workout led by coaches. The group plans to end at 8:45 a.m. and attend the grand opening. For more information,
The 4.3-mile section of the Mississippi River Trail opened for public use in November. It is part of the 27-mile trail that extends along the Mississippi River from South St. Paul to Hastings. The new section of trail connects Spring Lake Park Reserve to Hastings, offers grandiose river views, and includes more than 1,300 native plants and 25 acres of prairies and woodlands. A pair of pedestrian bridges, totaling more than 570 feet in length, help connect the trail. Several observation decks and three overlooks provide stunning views along a bird migration corridor.
The trail provides access to people with disabilities, allowing them to navigate areas of the park that were previously unreachable. A majority of the area where the trail was built is in a section of the park with low-grade natural resources. The trail uncovered sections of the park that were unreachable, which will now allow the Parks Department to increase the ecological health of the park through restoration. 
The section of trail is part of a large national project to build the Mississippi River Trail, which will span nearly 3,000 miles from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The trail, when completed, is expected to connect parks in 10 states, showing off woodlands, valleys, prairies and other natural wilderness throughout the country.
Accommodations will be available at the event to help transport people with limited mobility. For more information and to see a video of the trail, visit and search Mississippi River Trail

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