Minnesotans can review and provide comments through April 5 on three designs under consideration by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the redevelopment of a trailhead and day-use area at Blue Mounds State Park. The site, known as Eagle Rock Vista, is located on the south side of the park at the site of the former homestead of novelist Frederick Manfred.
“The homestead, which had served as the park Interpretive Center in years past, has been closed to the public for several years because of its failing structural integrity,” said Blue Mounds State Park supervisor Chris Ingebretsen. “Our goal for this redevelopment project is to provide a safe and welcoming site for people to enjoy the trails, unique prairie and outstanding views found on the south side of the park.”
The three design concepts provide a range of amenities from a basic trailhead structure to a picnic shelter and outdoor event space. All three concepts include deconstruction of the Interpretive Center since there are no viable and cost effective alternatives to rehabilitate the building, which is built into the cliff face.
“We understand the attachment that some people feel toward Frederick Manfred’s former home,” said Ingebretsen. “However, its very unique design made it susceptible to water intrusion, which severely compromised the building’s structural integrity over many years, to the point that restoration isn’t feasible.”
Eagle Rock Vista also is home to high quality prairie, significant rock outcroppings, and many species of snakes. All of these attributes were considered when developing the conceptual designs for the site. The DNR is seeking to balance three key elements at this site: recreational opportunities, natural resource protection and interpretive opportunities.