Taking to YouTube for the most recent Mayor’s Moment, Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey plugs open space as something many residents don’t know about that nonetheless remains available for public enjoyment.
“Our park areas garner a lot of attention because of their playgrounds, ball fields and other highly active facilities,” Mayor Bailey notes in the December Mayor’s Moment. “But did you know we have over a thousand acres of public land we call open space?”
Bailey goes on to say that ‘open space’ refers to places throughout the city that have been proactively designated, “to ensure our residents and visitors have the opportunity to enjoy nature within walking distance of our neighborhoods.” Along with access to nature for residents, Bailey says that open spaces help to ensure habitat for a diverse array of animals, birds, insects and plants. “They also benefit air and water quality with their abundant plant and animal varieties. “In Cottage Grove we have a strong tradition of weaving nature into our neighborhoods, and we feel strongly that this leads to happier, healthier residents and families,” Bailey says.
Going on to say that he has recently been encouraging residents to visit the various parks and open spaces the city has to offer, Bailey then goes on to say that in doing so “even I have discovered some gems the public knew about.” gems the public knew about.”
He then goes on to list some examples:
• Camel’s Hump
• Antler’s Ridge
• Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park
• Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area
• Still Ponds Park, and
• Glacial Valley Park
Each of these locations has something to offer residents.
“Camel’s Hump is 75-acres of open space that has restored woodlands and prairie bluffs, with both accessible and natural hiking trails,” Bailey says. Giving a nod to scenic views and spectacular sunsets at Camel’s Hump from above Highway 61, the Mayor then shifts to Antler’s Ridge, located at 7007 61st St. South.
“Antler’s Ridge has been in the parks system for just a few years now,” Bailey says, touting the rock trail weaving through 20 acres of woods and meets up with a creek on the east side of the park. Bailey also touts the Cottage Grove Trailway Corridor, a trail with over 100-acres of land converted to prairie that goes through the city creating an undeveloped corridor linked to several neighborhoods it passes through. Bailey then shifts to talk about Cottage Grove Ravine Park, which constituting as it does the above ground expression of a no longer active underground rock fault extending north to Old Cottage Grove.
“We are very lucky to have 553-acres of regional park as Cottage Grove Ravine Park, Bailey says of the park with entrance at 9653 Keats Avenue South, then shifting to Grey Cloud Dunes in his parks review.
Composed of 238 acres along the Mississippi that grew out of an illegal dump site settlement with Marathon Ashland, Grey Cloud Dunes has two public entrances (off Settler’s Bluff and at 113 Street South). “And we have even more in store,” Bailey said of city parks and open spaces as he shared that the city was working on park projects adjacent to developments. “Examples include Still Ponds Park and Glacial Valley Park,” he said. “Just to name a few.”
Still Ponds is to be located north of Oltman Middle School, while Glacial Valley Park at 9900 Ravine Parkway South includes both planned sports facilities along with a DNR conservation easement.
“I encourage you to visit these natural spaces,” Bailey said. “Many of these areas are unknown to residents. Grab a park map, or contact our park staff to learn more, and watch for these new parks to become developed in the future. For the Mayor’s Moment, I’m Mayor Bailey.”