Originally published in Hometown Source.
One of the true gems of Three Rivers Park District is Crow-Hassan Park Reserve in Rogers and Hanover. When you’re there, you can quickly forget that you’re still in Hennepin County and just three miles from Interstate 94. While walking the trails at Crow-Hassan and looking out across the prairie, it’s easy to imagine you’ve been transported back in time to experience the original landscape of the area.
Last fall, Three Rivers Park District invited the public to help shape the future of Crow-Hassan Park Reserve by providing input to the park master plan process. More than 1,200 people participated by providing online comments, attending a listening session or contributing to surveys at our park locations. The amount of feedback we received was unprecedented for a Park District master plan! It was fantastic to hear from so many people who love Crow-Hassan.
Themes that emerged included maintaining the rustic quality of the park, protecting the natural features, improving accessibility for families and people with disabilities, and increasing programming and educational opportunities.
The park includes approximately eight miles of shoreline on the Crow River. A goal of the plan is to
feature the river through viewing points and access for paddling and fishing. Another highlight of the plan is marking the route within the park for the future Crow River Regional Trail. This trail will extend from the northern tip of Hennepin County in Dayton, along the Crow River, through Delano and connect with the Luce Line State Trail on the western edge of Minnetrista. This regional trail has been designed to minimize crossings with existing park trails.
The master plan also outlines opportunities for expanded camping with access to campsites from the river and trails. These campsites would be paddle-in from the Crow River, hike-in, or ride-in on bikes or horses. Other potential new park features include a beginner-level archery range, enhancements to the dog off-leash area, and play features adjacent to ADA-accessible trails using boulders and logs to embrace the natural feel of the park.
The Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners approved the draft master plan July 18. Opportunities for public review and comments are available at LetsTalkThreeRivers.org through Sept. 5. While master plans guide future development, they don’t set a timetable. The goal is to provide a plan for future development as funding and opportunities are available.
On September 21, the Park District will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Crow-Hassan prairie with a special event where you can participate in guided hikes, wagon rides, demonstrations of how staff use technology to track wildlife, a prairie seed activity and insect studies. The event is free and people can drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Riverbend Group Camp.
If you would like to help with the continued restoration of the prairie, please consider attending a prairie seed collection event. Seed collection events are scheduled on Aug. 17, 20, 24 and 27; Sept. 10 and 21; and Oct. 5, 8, 15 and 19. There is no cost to attend but registration is required. Visit ThreeRiversParks.org for more information or to register.
Whether you attend one of our upcoming events or explore Crow-Hassan on your own, I hope you’ll take an opportunity to experience this treasure of the Three Rivers system.
For more information about the Crow-Hassan master plan or upcoming programming at Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, visit ThreeRiversParks.org.
Marge Beard is Three Rivers Park District Commissioner representing District 1. District 1 includes Corcoran, Greenfield, Hanover, Independence, Long Lake, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetrista, Minnetonka Beach, Mound, New Hope, Orono (Precincts 1, 3 and 4), Plymouth, Rockford, Rogers, Spring Park, St. Bonifacius and Wayzata.