August 30 2023

Public Working Session #1

The DNR held a working session and public open house meeting to refine ideas for investments in outdoor recreation in the Upper Minnesota River Valley. Participants heard about the feedback people provided through past engagement and discussed outdoor recreation opportunities in more detail. Outdoor recreation providers in the area shared information about opportunities in the area. Attendees participated in two activities to discuss opportunities in different geographic areas and by recreation use types.

November 08 2023

Public Working Session #2

Approximately 40 people attended a working session to refine ideas for outdoor recreation investment opportunities at the Kilowatt Center in Granite Falls. Attendees received a summary of outdoor recreation values, users and ideas received through submitted online questionnaires, conversations, emails and small group stakeholder meetings. Camping, hiking, trail connections and river/water accessibility were among the highest-ranking outdoor activities. Important values include engaging with partners, supporting a wide range of recreational usage groups, sharing history, providing local outdoor recreation, and recognizing regional attractions and economic development. In general, investment opportunities can be summarized in four categories: park amenities, water recreation and access, trail connections, and public lands and conservation. The DNR shared a map of potential ideas to enhance existing parks in the area.

Participants were engaged and actively participated. Some expressed disappointment in the transfer and expressed frustration with the process. On the other hand, people voiced support for investments in multiple recreation activities and want to see a combination of both short-term and long-term investments. Participants suggested many good ideas, and the Granite Falls area remains a destination for people looking for enjoyment and nature-based experiences.  A suggestion for more meaningful engagement through community outreach and organizing could help build more support and funding for  long-term investment opportunities.