William O’Brien State Park riverside section closed for year

Construction project to upgrade and renovate facilities will affect campgrounds, day use area, and busy boat launch.




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Closure signs at William O’Brien State Park. (Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360)

Construction is starting at William O’Brien State Park on a major improvement project focused on increasing accessibility for visitors.

“William O’Brien State Park is very popular, with nearly 275,000 visitors in 2023, and this project has been several years in the making,” said Ann Pierce, director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. “The Minnesota DNR is constantly working to make our state park system more accessible, and this project is a key advancement in our efforts to ensure Minnesotans of all abilities can enjoy our state’s outdoor experiences.”

Accessibility improvements at the park include additional accessible campsites, an accessible canoe and kayak launch, trail upgrades to better accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices, and new restrooms and shower facilities.

This project is funded primarily through regular state bonding funds, with additional funds provided by last year’s Get Out MORE (Modernize Outdoor Recreation Experiences) appropriation. Get Out More is a historic, one-time investment of $149.9 million to help ensure Minnesotans of all abilities and interests enjoy a world-class recreation system, whichever outdoor experience they choose. To learn more about this special initiative, head to the Get Out MORE webpage of the DNR website (mndnr.gov/aboutdnr/get-out-more).

Most of the park will remain open to visitors during construction, including the Savanna Campground and Wedge Hill Group Camp, most of the park’s 17.4 miles of hiking trails, and the park office and interpretive center. Construction requires the lower portion of the park near Lake Alice and the St. Croix River to close to visitors through early 2025.

Areas of the park that are closed include:

  • Mondale Day Use Area, including the St. Croix River public water access, Lake Alice swimming beach, parking lot and picnic shelters.
  • Riverway campground.
  • Riverside group camp.
  • Riverside Trail.

Ongoing updates on construction will be available on the park webpage of the DNR website (mndnr.gov/state_parks/william-obrien-accessibility-improvements.html).


4 responses to “William O’Brien State Park riverside section closed for year”

  1. Valoree Avatar

    Will the paved trail that runs along the east side of the park also be upgraded/resurfaced during the project? It is not safe for bicycles and I doubt very pleasant for those who rely on wheelchairs either.

  2. Linda Avatar

    The only draw for me, the only area I visit there IS the River Trail and the kayak/canoe river access. So I will not be back until reopened.

  3. Anthony Minnichsoffer Avatar
    Anthony Minnichsoffer

    That’s incredibly poor planning–the epitome of bureaucracy! The river and Lake are major features of the park in spring, summer and fall. Why not close it portion by portion?

  4. Maria DOnofrio Avatar
    Maria DOnofrio

    We want river access please.



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William O’Brien State Park riverside section closed for year