Please dress appropriately as we'll be outside until dusk and will be moving buckthorn. Safety glasses and gloves will be provided if you don't have your own. Dogs are not permitted when volunteering at this event.
About 2 years ago the park acquired land south of Minnehaha Park called Coldwater Spring. From the 1950s to the 1990s the property was occupied by the Bureau of Mines, a federal research facility. After closure in 1994 the buildings sat unused and deteriorated. Last summer the buildings were demolished and the property is being restored to an open park-like setting of open prairie and oak savannah. As part of the restoration buckthorn was cut along the bike path that is between Minnehaha Park and Fort Snelling State Park and stacked along the trail.
The buckthorn needs to be moved to an area that is accessible by a truck so it can eventually be picked up by District Energy in St. Paul and used as a fuel source in their downtown plant. We have been using groups of volunteers to pull the buckthorn from where it is stacked to the accessible area. It's a very rewarding project from many points of view. Removal of the buckthorn will improve the view along the path and allow for growth of native plants, it's fun to see one pile shrink and another grow, and it's rewarding to know that the buckthorn will be put to good use. It's all part of building our local national park, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The Coldwater Spring area has a long and interesting history. Typically we spend a bit of time at these events talking about the natural and cultural history of the area where we are working at a restoration event. It's a beautiful area. If you haven't been there I encourage you to check it out. It's south of 54th Street on Minnehaha Park Drive.