Visiting St. Anthony Falls
by: Mai Ker Thao
The Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam closed in 2015. In the following summer of 2016, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers made an agreement for the National Park Service to operate the visitor center and give tours. Mississippi Park Connection, the nonprofit partner to the park, currently staffs the St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center, which is how I got the amazing opportunity to work here.
The simplest reason why people should come to the visitor center is because it’s FREE! Activities are geared toward both adults and children, which makes it a perfect stop on a family day outing. I also think people should visit St. Anthony Falls because they will get the chance to see the falls from a different perspective. They have the unique opportunity to tour the lock wall and be as close to the falls as is safely possible. Hearing the river roar and feeling the mist hit you just gives you a different feeling and insight to how much the falls mean to the city of Minneapolis and its history. St. Anthony Falls is also a great place to learn about the falls, how lock and dams work, and the area’s milling history.
Did you know that 72 miles of the Mississippi River are deemed a national park? One of the main reasons Congress decided to give national park status to this section of the river is to protect the falls. As crazy as it may seem, St. Anthony Falls is a natural waterfall. The reason why it looks so engineered and not exactly “natural” can all be answered at the visitor center or on a tour with a National Park ranger. History, education, fun, and outdoor adventure; St. Anthony Falls has it all!
Mai Ker Thao has worked during the summers of 2016-2019 for Mississippi Park Connection.