A Park Merges Rich History With Green Design
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 1, Day 5
Spring Lake Park, Schaar’s Bluff
Spring Lake Park is one of my favorite places to take walks with the family. The views are breathtaking, the trails are very well maintained and there are bonfire pits at several locations throughout the park.
Spring Lake Park has an interesting history. There are native american artifacts that show evidence of villages and campsites dating from 1000 B.C to A.D. 1400! In the 1930’s, a dam was built, flooding the river basin and spring lake merged to join the Mississippi. In more recent history, Schaar’s Bluff was a family farm that was eventually sold to Dakota County.
Since then, the park has been working on providing a place where visitors can learn about American Indian history. Nine years ago, the park opened Dakota County’s first net-zero-energy building. The Gathering Hall gets 90 percent of it’s energy from an onsite wind turbine. This spring, it opened it’s recently expanded trail to merge with the Mississippi River Trail.
We had originally planned on hiking a hidden trail we hadn’t previously explored. Upon arrival, we saw that the new trail had been completed. We were really excited to check it out.
We enjoyed seeing the beautiful prairie, full of wildflowers. As we progressed on the trail, we could see several newly planted oak trees and strips of wheat bordering the path. We took time to rest at the picnic tables overlooking the river and planned a future picnic. The kids enjoyed climbing the rocks in the newly carved limestone wall. The huge bridge crossing a ravine was an interesting design of plain lumber and rusted metal that made the kids question it’s age and safety. I assured them that it was new and probably quite safe.
I have a feeling that we’ll love visiting and walking the new trail just as much as we love the old ones. I really recommend this park for anyone interested. It’s great for biking, hiking, picnics, outdoor gatherings, photo shoots, weddings, playing at the park, and watching the sun set.
Have you ever visited Schaar’s Bluff? What is your favorite spot?