DNR seeks public input on potential Minnesota River Valley State Recreation Area

SRA exploration stems from Minnesota River Valley Master Plan

Anyone who would like to provide input regarding a possible state recreation area in the Minnesota River Valley will be able to do so through an online survey, which will be available soon, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

The DNR is seeking ideas for that possible SRA, which would be located in Redwood or Renville county, and within 2 miles of the Minnesota River in southwestern Minnesota.

“A state recreation area can bring a lot of value to a community,” said DNR regional director Scott Roemhildt. “It brings so many recreational opportunities, and we’re happy to help Redwood and Renville counties find the solution that works best for their citizens.”

A survey to help clarify preferences and interests for types of outdoor recreation and interpretive themes in the proposed SRA is available on the DNR webpage. Additional public input opportunities will occur in late October and November.

Seeking special state and county designations is one of the top three strategies identified in the Minnesota River Valley Recreation and Conservation Master Plan. An SRA designation will provide the flexibility for a wide variety of recreation and a higher level of resource conservation or protection.

The public input options during September through November will help DNR planners determine what are the desired types of recreation at the proposed SRA. Current state lands in the valley project area provide a heavy emphasis on conservation and protection of natural resources and a few recreation opportunities that are associated with them. These include hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife watching, walking, and wild edible collecting.

“This is an opportunity for our citizens to tell the DNR what new outdoor recreation assets they would like to see in the river valley,” said Redwood County Environmental Director Scott Wold. “A new SRA could add to quality of life for local residents and be a unique experience for visitors to the area.”

To provide more balance between conservation and nonmotorized recreation, a new type of unit is required. Land for an SRA would need to be acquired from willing landowners, and could include existing types of recreation as well as being able to accommodate more of the traditional activities in the valley such as horseback riding and shore fishing. An SRA might also include areas for mountain biking and interpretation activities. An SRA could be used to protect scenic views or important cultural or historical sites.

People in the area have previously provided information about their perception of the valley and their personal recreation activities overall. Now, the DNR is asking specifically for public input regarding a potential new state recreation area. The valley is a narrow corridor where many interests including agriculture, conservation, recreation, business and homesteads must be carefully woven together in order to have peaceful co-existence and optimize benefits for local and regional residents, as well as visitors.

The master plan collaboration between Redwood and Renville and the DNR continues as planners begin to implement strategies that citizens brought forward during the initial public input opportunities during 2016 and 2017. A county advisory committee will provide guidance to the DNR from the local government perspective.

The completed master plan, maps, results from master plan public input opportunities, photos and various other types of project information can be reviewed on the Minnesota River Valley Recreation and Conservation project website or the DNR website’s project page.

More information available at mnrivervalleymasterplan.org.