New Nature Area open near Crystal Airport
Parks are common throughout the Twin Cities, but natural areas with wildlife can be harder to come by. Sometimes we just want a place where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Now, the Mac Wildlife Area has new renovations they are ready to show off.
“We have a number of parks in the area, but this is really the only wildlife area,” says John Elholm the Recreation Director for the city of Crystal. “Folks that come out here do a lot of birding and there are just a lot of different species that come through here. You aren’t going to find anywhere else in the city.”
Why Renovations Began
This 40-acre plot of land is a hidden gem within the northwest suburbs. However, the area hasn’t always been as easy to enjoy.
“A number of years ago they put a control structure on this pond,” says Elholm. “They added it, to control the amount of run off that goes in to Twin Lake. That caused the water level to go up and the boardwalk to be submerged.” With the boardwalk submerged, people weren’t able to enjoy being in the middle of the wetland. Three Rivers Park District renovated the new 460 foot boardwalk.
“We knew that the boardwalk had been underwater for a number of years,” added Elholm. “So we have been trying to figure out how to raise the boardwalk. Three Rivers Park District does a really nice job with boardwalks and outdoor education so they agreed to help us out.”
Three Rivers was also able to fund the board walk project as well. Along with making the wetlands more accessible, education is a priority moving forward.
“We’ve built an outdoor learning station out here,” says Elholm. “The purpose of this is to get off the board walk so that if there are a group of kids here for a lesson or to just learn more about the environment out here they can get off the trail. Water is running right underneath this new station, so kids can take water samples from here as well.”
This was just phase one of a multi phase project. While nothing is set in stone yet, al those involved hope to continue to develop the area, and take advantage of it’s resources. The improvements were a joint effort between the City of Crystal, Brooklyn Center and the Crystal Airport. Officials with Crystal say these partnerships are what create positive change.
“People want to see good things happen but no one agency has the resources to do it,” says Elholm. “So, we all just work together and that’s how great things happen.”
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Expo
Mac Wildlife Area is holding a Ribbon Cutting and Expo on September 8th and 9th from 1-5 PM. The event is at the northeast corner of the park, near Nompeng Academy in Brooklyn Center, with Parking also at Kylawn Park.
The expo includes a climbing wall, zip line, and geocaching. If you are looking for something more educational a naturalist will also be there each day who will facilitate a bird and raptor game or program. For more information on the event click here.