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Master Plan Frequently Asked Questions

What is a master plan and why is it being done?

A master plan provides a long-range vision or concept for where recreation and conservation development resources could be focused, how the area might be managed and maintained, what types of facilities are desired and where interpretation may be needed.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Minnesota River Valley master plan will not define specific trail alignments or multi-use sites, but may discuss several preferred concepts and search areas. The plan will include recommendations for trail uses, trail connections, trail maintenance, interpretation and management of natural and cultural resources. Potential impacts of the recommendations will be provided. This plan will recommend how this area connects to the Minnesota River State Trail.

A plan for this area was recommended by the Minnesota River Valley Citizens Advisory Committee in fall 2013. The Minnesota Legislature directed the DNR to do a master plan in 2014. In 2015, Renville and Redwood counties received a grant from Legislative Citizen Commission for Minnesota Resources to develop a master plan for this same area.

What are the steps involved in developing this master plan?

DNR’s master plan is being developed in partnership with Redwood and Renville counties as they develop their master plan through a collaborative process involving local governments, communities, user groups and the public. Public input events will be jointly offered by the counties and DNR. A shared website has been developed. The link to this website is http://www.mnrivervalleymasterplan.org/ . This link leads to an external site.
A citizen’s advisory committee report from 2013 will be referenced for this planning effort. The master plan process is anticipated to take about one year.

How can I stay connected and share my ideas?

  1. Sign up to be on the project mailing list by sending an email to Comment@MNRiverValleyMasterPlan.org . You may receive:
    • Updates about the planning process
    • Surveys to provide input about the project area
    • Public Meeting notifications
    • An invitation to review and comment on the draft master plan
  2. Individual interviews are being held with key stakeholder groups.
  3. Attend public workshops or open houses offered to gather public input.
  4. Review and comment on the draft master plan

Where is this project located?

The project is defined as an area up to about 2 miles from the center of the Minnesota River in Redwood and Renville counties; and Upper Sioux Agency and Fort Ridgley State Parks.

What is the background for this project?

  1. A Citizen Advisory Council from the Redwood and Renville County area provided recommendations to the Commissioner of the DNR for a multi-use landscape approach in this area. These include:
    • Increasing access for diverse outdoor recreation opportunities
    • Protect and conserve important natural and cultural resources in the area
    • Develop a multi-use trail system
    • Develop a plan for this area in collaboration with local stakeholders
    • Commit to respect land owner rights throughout the process
  2. There is a high density of rare and sensitive natural resources in the project area that needs protection. The DNR and the counties agree in principle that these areas on public lands should receive a high level of protection.
  3. There is a high density of natural and cultural elements that are of interest to a wide variety of groups, such as:
    • birdwatchers
    • geologists
    • historians
    • botanist
    • anglers
    • mountain bikers
    • horse riders
    • rock climbers
    • hunters
    • herpetologists
    • canoe
    • kayakers
    These resources would benefit from additional management and interpretation.
  4. The project's objective faces several complex obstacles given the current rules of state lands in southwest Minnesota. One current rule prohibits broad multi-use recreation opportunities, such as trails and camping except in state parks, trails and forests. Another major obstacle is that the funding used to acquire lands limits how land can be used.

For More Information, questions or comments about DNR Master Plan, please contact:

Catherine Fouchi
DNR Regional Planner
Comment@MNRiverValleyMasterPlan.org
507-359-6034

For More Information, questions or comments about Redwood/Renville Counties Master Plan, please contact:

Scott Wold
Redwood County Environmental Office Director
Comment@MNRiverValleyMasterPlan.org
507-637-4023

See the project Web page for more information, http://www.mnrivervalleymasterplan.org/  This link leads to an external site.