Plan Aims To Enhance Recreation In Minnesota River Valley, But Who Will Take It On Matters Most

Ramsey Falls in Redwood Falls is among the attractions in the Minnesota River Valley corridor shared by Renville and Redwood counties.

A plan that will guide Renville and Redwood counties as they promote recreational and economic opportunities in the Minnesota River Valley is now available for review.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released the Minnesota River Valley Master Plan on May 8, and is taking public comments on it for 30 days.

A public open house will also be held to receive written comments  from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 8 in the Redwood Falls Public Library community room.

This will be the final opportunity to weigh in on the plan, which is intended to guide efforts in the corridor over the next 20 years.  The key recommendations in the plan should not surprise anyone. For example, the plan calls for improving access to the river and improving the parks along the 65-mile stretch from the Upper Sioux Agency State Park to Fort Ridgely.

It supports initiatives to develop more equestrian opportunities in the corridor, possibly by developing a trail head and network of trails.

The plan calls for increasing and improving the accesses that make the Minnesota River a popular destination for paddlers.

It supports development of opportunities for off highway vehicle riding, both by encouraging development of a park with trails and a more comprehensive approach to riding on township and county roads.

The most ambitious initiative of the plan is a call for developing a trail system to link the communities along the corridor as well as the parks and other recreational assets.

And, the plan also supports more efforts to conserve the unique wildlife and fauna found in the valley by working with private landowners.   

What will really matter going forward is whether Renville and Redwood counties continue to work together to pursue these goals. And if that is to succeed, it will all depend on the very first goal called for in the plan: To appoint an advisory board to work with the two counties and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The selection of people for that board will make the difference between a plan that is pursued, and one that is placed on a shelf.

The plan can be found on the DNR website or on the master plan page.

Comments can be sent to Comment@MNRiverValleyMasterPlan.org through June 8. Printed copies are available for loan at the Renville County Environmental Office in Olivia, the Redwood County Environmental Office in Redwood Falls, the Redwood Falls Public Library and the Lower Sioux Environmental office in Morton.

Survey results, project maps, photos and other project information are available at the DNR’s project website as well as on the master plan page.

A tipi at the Upper Sioux Agency State Park.