Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park located 20 minutes’ northwest of Minneapolis has something for everyone.
The park is in Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The park which is one of the unique parks in the Three Rivers Parks District. The park is over 446 acres with over five miles of hiking trails. There are plenty of places to see the majestic Mississippi.
From beginning to moderate hiking the Dam has something for every level. The dam has two miles of paved trails to walk. Also, has about five miles of unpaved trails to hike, if you are feeling a little more adventurous.
While walking on the trails during the warmer months, you will have some of the best bird watching in the area. You can see a variety of species of birds. Eagles can be seen building their nests on the west side of the park.
History of the Dam
Construction of the dam began in 1913 by the Northern States Power Company. The building of the dam provided jobs for 1,000 people during the two-year project. The Northern States used for hydropower generation until 1966. In 1969 the Northern States donated the dam and the surrounding area to Three Rivers Parks.
A scour hole discovered in 2005 on the downstream side of the dam gets repaired. The discovery of more scours damage via underwater sonar scan performed in 2009.
Invasion of Asian Carp
Asian carp caught in the Mississippi near Hastings in March 2012. Another variety carp which can leap 10 feet out of the water, was found near Winona.
In 2010, The Coon Rapids Dam Commission formed to study and make recommendations for the dam. Stanley Consultants completed a report on the potential restorations for the Dam.
The report shows that improvements to the spillway can act as a barrier to prevent fish migration. The $16 million renovation project approved by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2011.
Restoration to the Dam
In 2012, The Department of Natural Resources and Three Rivers Park District entered an Agreement, the which says the DNR will be responsible for the reconstruction of the dam. Three Rivers will be responsible for routine maintenance and will remain the owner of the dam.
The construction project awarded to Kraemer and Sons began in 2013. In 2014 construction of five new water control gates and a new stilling basin on the Coon Rapids side of the dam. The following year, four new gates and the restoration of the existing entrance on the Brooklyn Park side.
The new gates which lower from the top are a much more effective fish barrier. The previous gates which were rubber must deflate to reduce the water level.