Mississippi Park Connection and the National Park Service are restoring Coldwater Spring to an oak savanna prairie with blufftop woodlands and wetlands. The National Park Service acquired responsibility for Coldwater in 2010 and began demolishing a dozen decrepit buildings that had sat vacant for more than a decade.
Coldwater had been home to the Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Research Center for almost five decades, from 1949 to 1996, when Congress closed all Bureau of Mines centers nationwide. Since the Park Service assumed responsibility, Coldwater has gone from an office park to a public park. Now, Coldwater is part of an unbroken expanse of green space, stretching from Minnehaha Falls Regional Park to Fort Snelling State Park.
Volunteers are an integral part of the park’s restoration. More than 1,000 volunteers have donated over 3,500 hours restoring Coldwater Spring in just one year. At September 2014 National Public Lands Day, another 160 volunteers planted trees, shrubs, and native prairie plants. Since the park opened in September 2012, volunteers have planted more than 600 trees, along with many more shrubs and native flowers and grasses.
While Coldwater Spring’s restoration continues, more visitors are coming to the park to play and learn. Some 250 school children have come to the park for educational programs or habitat restoration. Hundreds more visitors have come for recreational programs including Second Saturdays, snowshoeing, bird hikes and more. To see upcoming events in the park, please visit the Event Calendar.
Check out our Coldwater Spring Facebook page for more scenes from the park.