Backyard Getaways travels the Great River Road in the Brooklyns
Take a drive down the Great River Road through Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center to discover a stretch of roadway that’s rich in beauty and history.
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
Did you know the land bordering the Mississippi River in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center is actually a national park?
“I think one thing that’s really interesting about the Mississippi River is that it is part of the national parks,” said Patty Maher of the Three Rivers Park District. “We have it right in our backyards.”
On this part of the Great River Road it’s all about power and peace. You can see the raw power of the Mississippi River while driving through Brooklyn Park.
“It fills your senses in many ways,” Maher said. “You hear the roar of the water flowing over the Dam.”
One can also experience peace and tranquility along the river banks.
“You can go fishing,” Maher said. “You can hike our trails. And you can see some really amazing wildlife and it’s right in the city.”
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is the perfect spot for children to splash and have fun.
“We love coming down here just to explore,” said Lisa Camlek of Maple Grove who brought her kids and their friends to the park Tuesday. “Find different things, rocks.”
Visiting local history
One of the coolest stops along the Great River Road is high above the Mighty Mississippi on the river bluffs. It’s the Izaak Walton League in Brooklyn Park. The Breckenridge chapter of the league has an up north-like feel. It promotes conservation, education and preservation of the river.
The Mississippi flyway is a major route for migratory birds such as eagles, cormorants and ospreys on their way from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.
In Brooklyn Center, you are only seven minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
But local historian Diane Sannes says it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
“We are in the wilderness here,” says Sannes, who has lived on the Mississippi River for 26 years.
“At this point right here, it is mile 862 of the upper Mississippi River,” Sannes said as she stood near the river. “We are 300 miles from Itasca and 2,000 miles from New Orleans.”
Sannes talked about bootlegging that once took place on tiny islands in the river.
“People would bring their boats from the city and maybe have fun all night long,” Sannes said, “and they would float back into Minneapolis.”
The “safe house” was a place where liquor flowed freely during prohibition.