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The mission of Olmsted County Parks is to foster an appreciation of the natural world through environmental education, natural resource management, and public participation in the stewardship of our park lands.
Learning life-long lessons in natural places.
The Boat Launch Opens May 1, 2020
On January 2, 2020 Olmsted County became the new property owners of the former Fisherman's Inn property and boat launch. This purchase will allow the county to open the only public boat access on the Olmsted County side of Lake Zumbro. The Parks Department will be updating the master plans for the development of the land to include the new property. Olmsted County plans to rename the park as part of a celebration of the new development opportunities.
Originating as a major crossing point for Lake Zumbro, White Bridge Pier has the potential to be a county destination for lake access and community gathering. The site underwent its first major change in 1918 when White Bridge was moved from North Mankato to the site. This bridge acted as an economic catalyst for that area as businesses moved in along the road. The first businesses of the area started opening in the early 1930’s and the region held a steady growth based on the economic benefits that the lake provided.
The site changed in 1972 when a car was driving over the bridge and ran into a major support structure causing half of the bridge to fall into the lake. Fortunately no one was killed in the collapse, but this left a hole in the circulation of the region that needed to be addressed. The Army Corps of Engineers built a temporary bridge on the original site while designing and building the current Sandy Point Bridge further upstream.
After the new Sandy Point Bridge was completed in the late 1970’s the temporary bridge was taken down leaving a dead end road. This provided an opportunity for Olmsted County to develop an ADA accessible fishing pier with two separatefishing overlooks. It also resulted in the shifting of the area from a mix of commercial and residential to primarily residential with the Fisherman’s Inn being the only restaurant that is still open on the west side of Lake Zumbro.
Over time water quality in Lake Zumbro has declined. Investments are planned in the next five years to improve lake water levels, water quality, and habitat. Theseinvestments include dredging of areas immediately adjacent to White Bridge Pier to improve fish habitat. As water and fishing quality improves, the pier will become a more attractive destination, encouraging greater investments to be made in the quality and types of amenities provided throughout the site.
The site primarily functions as a location for fishing, picnicking, and observing boating, fishing, and waterskiing occurring on the lake. It is designed to be ADA accessible so that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy Lake Zumbro. It was created by converting the former road into a small parking lot with a porta potty inside a small structure adjacent. The site has several guard rails and construction type barriers in order to alert people that the road does not cross the lake. The shore edge is large stone riprap to give increased stability against erosion. To the south of the pier is a former beach that has been degraded over time and a few picnic tables in the grass area overlooking it.
There are two existing fishing overlooks. One faces southeast and is primarily a wooden structure with wood hand rails and a large poured concrete bench to enclose the space. This overlook is thirty feet long and can accommodate several people fishing at a time. The other overlook is on the opposite side (looking northwest) and is constructed of similar materials. This overlook is 25 feet long.
On the east edge where the bridge was, sits an informational sign that welcomes visitors and sets up some of the rules of the area as well as gives the users some information on fishing in Minnesota. There is an existing power line that goes across the lake at this site with one pole that is near the east edge and large orange spheres on the line over the lake to alert boaters to be careful near the wires.
Direction to White Bridge Fishing Pier
4 Fisherman Drive NW Oronoco, MN 55960
Located 11 miles north of Rochester, MN, White Bridge Pieris easily accessible by turning off of US Highway 52 and going 4.5 miles east of Oronoco, MN. First take 5th Street Northwest, then White Bridge Road, and finally take a left onto Fisherman Drive Northwest.