Fish Creek Open Space Area, City of Maplewood
Waterfall at Fish Creek Open Space Area. Photo courtesy City of Maplewood
Keeping with the Fund’s goal to save favorite outdoor places, we helped the City of Maplewood acquire 70 acres around the Fish Creek Open Space Area, increasing it 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 130-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.
Maplewood had been interested in adding this land to their open space for the past 20 years but it was privately owned and never came up for sale. That is, not until 2011.
When the property went on the market, Maplewood’s Parks and Recreation department needed time to get funding in place. Not wanting to miss out to another buyer, they approached the Fund for assistance. We used our Mississippi Revolving Fund, to purchase the property and held it for two years so Maplewood could raise the necessary funds to take ownership.
In 2013, with support from Ramsey County and the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, the city secured the funding needed to acquire the land from us. The city and county will work together with several non-profit groups to restore the property’s natural forested and grassland habitats for the benefit of a variety of wildlife species. They will also begin to create various hiking and nature trails that connect the property to the Fish Creek Open Space Area.
At the Fund we believe open space improves the quality of life in a community. This conservation success is a great win-win for wildlife and people because it protects natural habitats from development, improves local water quality and keeps the outdoors close for the residents of Maplewood.