Fish Creek Natural Area Greenway Adds 70 Acres In Maplewood
October 11, 2011
Fish Creek. Photo courtesy City of Maplewood.
Local, state and private partnership secures one of the largest natural open spaces in the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District
Maplewood, Minn. — As part of a long-time effort to preserve and enhance the Fish Creek Natural Area Greenway, the City of Maplewood and The Conservation Fund announced today that they have secured a key 70-acre, two-parcel property in the southern part of the City, pending the success of proposed funding. Surrounded on three sides by county-owned open space, this acquisition preserves one of the largest undeveloped open spaces in the area and will expand the Fish Creek Open Space section of the Greenway by 50 percent.
The Fish Creek Natural Area Greenway stretches from the Mississippi River in St. Paul, through Maplewood, to Carver Park in Woodbury. The heart of the Greenway is Fish Creek and Ramsey County’s 142-acre Fish Creek Open Space. Once pasture land, the tracts currently feature open rolling hills with wide views, prairie remnants, oak and aspen woodlands and a pine plantation. The southwest corner of the site is comprised of Mississippi River bluff land that offers a dramatic vista across the River Valley.
“Efforts to preserve this site and incorporate it into the Fish Creek Natural Area Greenway have been going on since 1990’s,” said Kathy Juenemann, current City Council member and long-time supporter of the Greenway preservation. “We are thrilled the stars finally aligned, and The Conservation Fund was willing and able to step in and help.”
The City, Ramsey County and the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District formed a unique partnership to help fund a portion of the acquisition. A generous donation from the 3M Foundation and a Department of Natural Resources grant through the Natural and Scenic Areas Grant Program—a program funded by the Legislative and Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources—also helped make this purchase possible.
“We are still in need of funds to complete the project, but we are confident that we and our partners will secure the remaining money,” said DuWayne Konewko, Community and Parks Development Director for Maplewood. A local fundraising effort is underway and Konewko is hopeful local businesses, private foundations and citizens will step up to help. “Greenways such as Fish Creek are important to Maplewood. They make our community desirable to live in and help attract residents and businesses to our community.”
The Conservation Fund purchased the property and will hold the property for two years to allow the City and its partners time to raise the necessary funds.
The City and County will work together with several local non-profit groups to restore the property’s natural forested and grassland habitats to benefit a variety of wildlife species. They will also develop and implement a master plan that will guide the restoration and recreational use of the property. This plan will likely include the eventual creation of hiking trails that will connect to already-existing trails that run through the Fish Creek Greenway and offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy the views of the Mississippi River Valley.
“Funding a land preservation project in the current economic climate is difficult. The payoff for the residents is protection of wildlife habitat, improved water quality, and trails for outdoor recreation.” commented Clint Miller, Project Manager for The Conservation Fund’s Upper Midwest Office. “The City and its partners worked long and hard to make this project happen. This site will be an asset to Maplewood and the surrounding cities.”
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | firstname.lastname@example.org
DuWayne Konewko, City of Maplewood, (651) 249-2330, email@example.com