Above the Falls Stewardship Program launches with biking/walking tour in August

As many of you know, Friends of the Mississippi River has long been involved in efforts to restore and revitalize riverfront areas in north and northeast Minneapolis upstream of St. Anthony Falls (aka Above the Falls). Much of our work has centered on the Minneapolis Above the Falls Master Plan, an award-winning plan and vision that calls for increased parks and trails along the river corridor as well as new residential neighborhoods and commercial uses that will better connect residents and visitors to this stretch of the Mississippi River. The City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board formally adopted the plan in 2000, and an updated version was recently approved by the Minneapolis City Council on June 14, 2013.

Now that this formal planning process is coming to an end, FMR will be offering a variety of stewardship events in the Above the Falls area, with the goals of engaging citizens in improving local water quality, restoring and enhancing the natural areas Above the Falls, building healthy communities with strong river connections, and cultivating advocates to support park and river improvements in these neighborhoods.

At our first scheduled event, the Above the Falls Riverfront Biking/Walking Tours, participants will join FMR staff and guest speakers on foot or bike to visit and learn about parks and trails in this area, along with information about the history, ecology, and future plans for the sites we visit. Both tours will end at the Scherer Brothers Park site, where the movie The Adventures of Huck Finn will start 15 minutes after sunset, approximately 8:30 p.m., specially sponsored by RiverFirst as part of Music and Movies in the Park. You can find more information or register to attend by visiting www.fmr.org and clicking on the Calendar link on the left.

If you cant attend this tour, dont worry – there are lots of other ways to get involved! Friends of the Mississippi River offers water-quality education and volunteer programs, such as storm-drain stenciling or river cleanups, for schools, youth and community groups of 15 people or more. We also provide educational workshops on water-friendly home and garden care, building your own rain barrel, the health of the Mississippi River, and other topics. To learn more, or to schedule an event for a group, contact FMRs Youth and Community Engagement Coordinator Katie Clower at 651-222-2193 ext.23 or kclower[at]fmr.org.

Thanks to the McKnight Foundation, the Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board for their support and assistance in this program.