A construction project with accessibility updates to William O’Brien State Park is slated to begin in September. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hosted an open house in June in Mahtomedi to unveil the improvements. DNR staff shared information and answer questions about the construction project, its impact on park visitors, and how the project fits into the park’s management plan.
The park is an hour east of the Twin Cities, along the banks of the St. Croix River. Hiking trails offer quiet exploration of the park’s rolling, wooded hills. For anglers, the channels of the St. Croix have northerns, walleye, bass and trout. Ideal for canoeing, the river is also a migratory pathway that offers visitors an exciting diversity of sights and sounds. In the winter, snowshoeing, skiing and camping attract enthusiasts.
The project was set to begin in the spring but was pushed back. The work is expected to take one year and will affect the east side of the park.
The primary purpose of the project is to upgrade and improve facilities in the lower part of the park, including the Riverway Campground and Riverside Group Camp, as well as the Walter Mondale Day Use Area. Updates will focus on accessibility for disabled visitors, including campsites and buildings that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Many facilities in the state parks and trails system are aging and do not comply with current state or federal accessibility standards or best practices,” the DNR said in a statement. “We are continually making improvements to make our parks and trails more accessible as funding allows. The research is clear, time spent in the outdoors has great health and wellness benefits, and it’s a priority of the DNR to make our parks and trails accessible to all people who want to enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation.”
For more information about the accessibility update project, visit the DNR’s William O’Brien State Park webpage (mndnr.gov/obrien).
(Source: Minnesota DNR)