Three Rivers preserves Kingswood property

_379EA818-17DE-4C8E-B1C9-EE8A4345CCD4__WEB.jpgThree Rivers closed on the purchase of the former Kingswood Camp property in late June after receiving unanimous approvals from both the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and the Metropolitan Council.

This property is a true gem in suburban Hennepin County, and I am proud that Three Rivers will be able to preserve it for future generations. The Minnetrista site has it all — a high-quality lake, woods, prairie, and even a tamarack bog — I know it will quickly become a treasured part of the Three Rivers park and trail system.

The property consists of 106 acres of land adjoining Little Long Lake. The Minnesota United Methodist Church had operated a camp on the property (Camp Kingswood) since 1947, but closed the camp and offered the property for sale in 2012. Following staff negotiation, our Three Rivers Board of Commissioners approved purchasing the property, which includes 70 percent of the shoreline of Little Long Lake, as well as a tamarack bog and a 25-acre prairie. 

Three Rivers purchased the property for $2.25 million. Adding the estimated stewardship costs, the acquisition total will be approximately $2.5 million, of which 75 percent ($1.9 million) will come from regional and state funds.  

The property is classified as a “Special Recreation Feature,” which means that it contains unique natural resources that will be
conserved and managed by the Park District, and that appropriate access will be created to allow for public enjoyment and understanding of these resources. The property will not be open for public access in 2013 as reclamation takes place. A plan for interim uses is expected to be announced in 2014, with long-term planning involving possible linkages in the regional trail system.

The Kingswood Acquisition Master Plan describes how the property will provide recreational and educational access to Little Long Lake, one of the most pristine water bodies in Hennepin County; enhance the level of protection and management of Little Long Lake and the surrounding lands; secure property for a future high-quality destination regional trail; and meet the growing demand for nature-based service-learning programs.

As an avid trail advocate, I am pleased that our acquisition advances our plans for a future regional trail linking the Luce Line State Trail, Gale Woods Farm, Dakota Rail Regional Trail, Lake Minnetonka Regional Park, Carver Park Reserve and the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail. Following an engagement effort with the equestrian community scheduled for Fall 2013, that planning for a future north-south trail in the area will assess and address the potential for an equestrian component.

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair