New trail bridges St. Croix River and story of Swedish immigrants

Work this summer is extending options for walking and biking around Taylors Falls.

By

/

/

3 minute read

Installing one of the new bridges on the Swedish Immigrant Trail. (Photo courtesy Peterson Companies)

A new foot bridge was recently lifted into place over ravines along the St. Croix River near Taylors Falls, marking a major milestone in work on Chisago County’s Swedish Immigrant Trail. The walking and biking path will eventually connect the Dalles communities to the Chisago Lakes area and beyond, where many immigrants from Sweden settled in the 19th century.

The new bridges are located on top of the bluffs in Minnesota’s Interstate State Park. They are part of a new segment under construction between Wildwood Campground at the top of the bluff to the popular state park, the river, and Taylors Falls.

Construction on the segment of trail through Interstate Park was started in March. The DNR reported the route was carefully selected to avoid several sites with sensitive plant species and cultural features. It also avoids a stand of mature sugar maples that have historically been used for syrup production.

The state has contributed significant funding to the project from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which primarily comes from lottery ticket sales.

When completed, the Swedish Immigrant Trail will run for 20 miles west to the city of Wyoming. There, it will connect with the north-south Sunrise Prairie Trail. In Taylors Falls, the city will construct a trailhead area next to city hall.

The trail will also connect with the Gateway State Trail, if and when it is eventually extended north from near Stillwater. Midway along the Swedish Immigrant Trail, in the towns of Center City, Chisago City, and Lindstrom, trail users could feasibly connect with the Chisago Lakes Water Trail, providing paddle routes through the area’s interconnected lakes.

Map courtesy Chisago County

On the St. Croix end of the trail, the possibilities of combining paddling and pedaling are also exciting. Or perhaps cyclists will just enjoy cooling off in the river at the end of a ride, or camping the night, or enjoying a meal at the town’s restaurants.

“The project Master Plan illustrates connections including a state park, six cities and a private campground, currently connected to the trail,” Chisago County says. “Scenic attractions include the famous Eichten’s Cheese & Bison Farm with smoked string cheese and bison burgers. Enjoy scenic views at Interstate State Park and tour the Franconia Sculpture Park, free admission and open dawn to dusk year round.”

The trail, as its name makes clear, is intended to celebrate the story of Swedes who settled in what is now Chisago County beginning about 1850. Before that, it was the home of Dakota and Ojibwe people, and still bears an Ojibwe name that translates roughly to “fair and lovely lakes.”

Many settlers arrived by river boat to Taylors Falls, setting out on foot to the prairies and lakes a few miles west, where the farming was good.

Tourists from Sweden already enjoy trips to the area to learn more about where their ancestors had emigrated to, and fulfill a general curiosity about their country’s place in American history. The trail could be another attraction, and introduce them to the wild and wonderful St. Croix River that once conveyed their relations to their new home.

More information:

Watch a 2007 promotional video for the trail:


Comments

St. Croix 360 offers commenting to support productive discussion. We don’t allow name-calling, personal attacks, or misinformation. This discussion may be heavily moderated and we reserve the right to block nonconstructive comments. Please: Be kind, give others the benefit of the doubt, read the article closely, check your assumptions, and stay curious. Thank you!

“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world.” – Bill Bullard

One response to “New trail bridges St. Croix River and story of Swedish immigrants”

  1. Tom Warth Avatar
    Tom Warth

    I hope the trail makers in this area will keep in mind the big picture. That is that the popular National Ice Age Trail runs over 1000 miles across Wisconsin ending in St Croix Falls. Trail networks need to ignore state boundaries. I walked from the Canadian border via the Superior Hiking Trail, the Gandy Dancer and the Gateway Trail to the Minnesota State Capitol. Because of the bridge, Taylors Falls and St Croix Falls are natural points from which trails should radiate. The Gateway should pass through Taylors Falls on its way North. And how about a trail South from St Croix Falls via Osceola and Houlton to Hudson. And for that matter from Marine/Stillwater North to Taylors Falls. Boaters in the Summer and skiers in the Winter can appreciate the river but in the Summer is is inaccessible to pedestrian apart from a handful of locations! Okay, okay, I know I dream on!!!! Tom

REPUBLISHING TERMS

You may republish this article online or in print under our Creative Commons license. You may not edit or shorten the text, you must attribute the article to St. Croix 360 and you must include the author’s name in your republication.

If you have any questions, please email greg@stcroix360.com

License

Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlikeCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
New trail bridges St. Croix River and story of Swedish immigrants