River Falls to receive National Park Service support to design Kinnickinnic River greenway

Federal support will help city create a plan for complex project connected to dam removal.

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Foot bridge over the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls. (Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360)

In May, the City of River Falls received an award of technical assistance from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program (NPS-RTCA) in support of the Kinnickinnic River Corridor Project.

This assistance program award will bring NPS-RTCA staff time and resources to the City over the next year to assist in creating an outdoor recreation greenway plan for the restored Kinnickinnic River Corridor.

“The City Council’s 2018 resolution to restore a free flowing Kinnickinnic River has made it possible for City staff to seek out additional resources,” Mayor Dan Toland said. “This partnership with NPS furthers the long-term goals laid out in this resolution as it continues efforts to complete the Phase 2 Planning portion of the Corridor Plan.”

Currently, the City is also working with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to complete a feasibility study to remove both hydroelectric dams and restore the river.

“The assistance provided by NPS staff will be instrumental in future visioning the corridor based on the 2018 Kinni Corridor Plan and the USACE Feasibility Study,” Amy Peterson, community development director said. “While the Kinni Corridor Plan laid out the vision with the best knowledge at the time, we now have more information that will modify the reality of that vision, and NPS staff with expertise in planning, landscape architecture and hydropower will be an important partnership for the City.”

The plan for this project is spread over two years; however, this award is for one year with the opportunity to request an additional year of assistance. This is an important factor for a such a complex project as it involves collaboration across numerous agencies and partners. Ensuring everyone is able to operate together on the same timeline will be imperative for the success of the project.

“The National Park Service is pleased to provide the RTCA program to the City of River Falls for this important project, and staff is excited to dig in and learn more,” Barett Steenrod, community planner with NPS said. “The RTCA program works to build healthy communities all while conserving lands and waters, supporting public land management collaboration and engaging youth across the Country.”

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River Falls to receive National Park Service support to design Kinnickinnic River greenway