Kinnickinnic State Park created 50 years ago by neighbors, government, and conservation groups

Effort started with local landowners determined to conserve confluence.




2 minute read

Beach at Kinnickinnic State Park (Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360)

Located where the St. Croix and Kinnickinnic rivers meet, Kinnickinnic State Park offers experiences in two types of worlds. Enjoy the quiet and solitude of the Kinnickinnic River Valley and the many popular water-based recreational pursuits on the St. Croix River. 

This year, we celebrate 50 years of Kinnickinnic State Park, often referred to simply as “Kinni.” As the Twin Cities metropolitan area expanded into western Wisconsin in the 1960s, several landowners in the area became determined to preserve the natural beauty of the land where the Kinnickinnic and St. Croix rivers meet.

With the help of key citizen groups including the Save Our St. Croix Association and the Minnesota Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission, these visionary citizens proposed the creation of a new state park.

In an extraordinary effort to make the park a reality, three families donated parcels of their land to the state. Carl and Alice Pemble, Homer and Mildred Creswell and George and Wilma Richter donated a total of 45 acres to the DNR to create a new state park. These gifts, combined with the overwhelming support of the remainder of the affected landowners, so impressed the Natural Resources Board that they established Kinnickinnic State Park in 1972.

The tradition of giving continued after the establishment of the state park. Volunteers have devoted considerable time, effort and financial support to developing the park. More than 20,000 trees have been planted, about 50 acres of prairie restored and about 6.5 miles of hiking trails developed largely due to the efforts of volunteers. The Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks and their associated WIKI Mountain Bike Club completed the installation of nine miles of new mountain bike trails at Kinni and Willow River State Park this fall; this adds to existing bicycle trails with more trails planned for the future. Please note that trails are closed to biking when the park is open to hunting.

This winter, head to Kinni for a range of snow activities. Several trails are packed and open as multi-use trails. Hiking, snowshoeing, skate skiing, classic skiing, skijoring and pets are allowed on these trails. Fat tire bicycles are allowed on the Red Trail only.

Classic-only cross-country skiing is allowed on some trails. Winter use and directional designations apply to these classic ski trails once the trails are snow covered and groomed. 

There is a sledding hill easily accessed from the Brown Trail parking lot. Have fun exploring this hidden gem park this winter.

Kinnickinnic State Park is located in River Falls. Learn more about it here.


One response to “Kinnickinnic State Park created 50 years ago by neighbors, government, and conservation groups”

  1. Bruce Deger Avatar
    Bruce Deger

    Love the mountain bike trails at both parks. I wish we had something similar on the west side of the St Croix at either William O’Brien or Afton State Park.


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Kinnickinnic State Park created 50 years ago by neighbors, government, and conservation groups