A future park reserve is planned in southwest Scott County along the Minnesota River bluffs. Known as Blakeley Bluffs, this future park is envisioned as a unique and extensive natural resource and recreational asset, characterized by large areas of continuous forest, stunning viewsheds with western sunsets, dramatic topographic changes, and high quality habitats of note on a regional scale.
The site’s extensive ecological value and potential for unique recreational opportunities set it apart as a special place to preserve for future generations to enjoy.
Local and regional efforts to conserve the area as a park reserve date back to the early 1960s. While early preservation efforts waned, interest in the park reserve concept renewed as rapid development occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
This renewed interest culminated in 2005 with the addition of a 6,000 acre park search area in the 2030 Regional Parks Policy Plan to fill a recreational service area gap in the southwest metro and to preserve an exemplary model of historic Minnesota River Valley landscape. In 2010-2011, a master planning process included extensive public participation and input from property owners to identify the proposed park boundary.
Preservation of the scenic, natural and cultural qualities of the Blakeley Bluffs and Minnesota River Valley area;
Future opportunities for regional outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, canoeing/kayaking, cross country skiing, and camping
Wildlife habitat enhancement and water quality improvement projects
Developing partnerships to offer environmental and cultural resource education programs and activities
Creating economic growth opportunities through outdoor recreation and tourism that could mirror a “Little Lanesboro” in Blakeley
The acquisition of the Blakeley Bluffs Park Reserve is expected to span several decades. The acquisition master plan guides land acquisitions by identifying a future park boundary and discussing the opportunities and challenges with acquiring lands. The County’s approach to park land acquisition is to purchase from willing sellers and to consider acquisition of lands that may be lost forever if not purchased now rather than to actively pursue the purchase of any lands within the park boundaries.