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Fort Snelling State Park reopens after storm damage

Cleanup of downed trees and debris caused by high winds and rain that swept through the area early in the week has progressed faster than anticipated.

As a result, Fort Snelling Park Manager Bob Piotrowski announced that the park reopened Thursday, in time for the Labor Day weekend.

"Park buildings and facilities, picnic shelters and the visitor center will be open for public use," said Piotrowski.

"Thankfully we received some great assistance from other state parks as well as the airport that borders the park. Metropolitan Airport Commission staff and equipment helped us clear fallen trees and debris from roads and parking areas.

As a result, the black-topped bike trails and the majority of other trails in the park are open."

Piotrowski noted, however, that some cleanup work is yet to be done on the trails that are located on the Dakota County side of the park.

"We still are in the process of assessing and clearing debris from eight miles of trail that runs from Mendota to Cedar Avenue," said Piotrowski, "and ask that the public use caution and good sense if they plan to use this section of trail."

Piotrowski added that Labor Day weekend typically is very busy at the park that annually hosts more than 600,000 visitors.

"The coming weekend traditionally is a big one for family picnics, biking and other activities," he said.

Pike Island, Picnic Island and the swimming beach at Fort Snelling State Park will be available for public use as well, however, no lifeguards will be on duty at the beach.

Fort Snelling State Park is located on Post Road, off State Highway 5. For more information, contact the park at (612) 725-2389 or visit the state park Web site at