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Critical Area

Mississippi River Critical Area

Unlocking the future of St. Anthony Falls

Upper St. Anthony Falls visitor center

What's at the end of the rainbow? Our local national park's visitor center at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock. Photo by National Park Conservation Association.

Big ideas are bubbling up to transform the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock in downtown Minneapolis site. Closed to navigation in June 2015, the lock could become the centerpiece of the vibrant riverfront park and neighborhood that surrounds it.

February 14

Big news: Bluffs, shorelines and scenic views protected!

The Mississippi River Gorge from St. Paul by Jim Hudak

Our local national park, the Twin Cities stretch of the Mississippi River, is now protected by FMR-prompted state rules. (Photo by Jim Hudak)

At long last, new State of Minnesota rules are now in place governing land use and development along the metro stretch of the Mississippi River, a.k.a. our local national park! While allowing for growth and redevelopment, the new rules protect the metro riverfront's natural, scenic and cultural treasures. 

December 27

South St. Paul stands strong to preserve open space

South St. Paul City Council

Cheers to the South St. Paul City Council! (Photo courtesy southstpaul.org.)

FMR would like to thank the South St. Paul City Council and celebrate their recent decision to preserve a city-owned 5-acre site as open space. The site is located near the Mississippi River and adjacent to the Mississippi River Trail scheduled to be constructed in 2017. The council rejected a push to change the largely tree-covered site into a paved industrial railroad storage area.

This is a big win that maintains the city’s commitment to a more public and green riverfront for future generations!

October 27

Crown Hydro is back, but can it stand up to a new and exciting civic proposal?

The newly proposed Falls Park and Visitor Center

A new proposal for the downtown Minneapolis riverfront, the Falls Park and Visitor Center (above) seems to be gathering momentum. However, a 20-plus-years-old effort to build a hydroelectric power plant in this area has re-emerged. Image courtesy of VJAA.

Amidst strong community opposition, Crown Hydro continues to pursue its proposal for a new hydroelectric plant near the Stone Arch Bridge. One group is fighting back with an alternative idea to use the now-closed St. Anthony Falls Lock as an interpretive center and meeting space.

October 19

South St. Paul seeks to replace trees with industry along Mississippi River Trail

As you grab your bike and enjoy the Mississippi River Trail in the coming years, what would you prefer: views of the river through a grove of trees or a long tall fence and a railroad storage yard? The South St. Paul planning commission faced that very question in early September and voted five to one to preserve the trees. But now the question is moving to the South St. Paul City Council.

September 12

DNR supports key FMR-sought protections for metro river corridor

New land-use and development rules will better protect the Twin Cities stretch of the Mississippi River, our local national park.  

During the final phase of developing updated rules for the Mississippi River Critical Area, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommended a number of positive changes in response to comments from FMR staff and advocates.

September 12

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