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.
Root River Development Concept-Preliminary (300 KB)
Root River Main Brochure (2.5 MB)
Map to Root River Park (341 KB)
Olmsted County has begun the process of developing a third Regional Park, Root River Park, in an effort to respond to the outdoor recreational needs of future generations. In 2007 the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources- Office of Management and Budget, Grants Unit, and the Trust for Public Land secured approximately 125 acres of private property in Southeastern Olmsted County. Located along the banks of the Root River, this parcel of land adjoins roughly 265 acres of DNR-Forestry Land, which lies on the opposite shore. It is the long-term goal of all of the agencies and advocacy groups involved that these acreages may one day be joined to increase the total public land available to the citizens of Southeastern Minnesota for nature based, outdoor recreational use.
In 2009 the Olmsted County Public Works Department – Parks Division began to facilitate public access to this parcel of land by developing some basic amenities. While yet more land will need to be purchased from willing sellers, this initial construction phase will allow the citizens of Southeastern Minnesota their first outdoor experiences on this environmentally significant landscape.
Fall of 2010 Update
In the Fall of 2010 the Olmsted County Parks Division completed the construction of a parking lot and other basic amenities at Root River Park. The intent of this modest project was to facilitate public parking and access to the 90 acre park parcel. Visitors to this new parkland will now find directional signage on Olmsted County State Aid Highway 1 directing visitors to Root River Park, an 80’ by 60’ gravel parking lot, an ADA accessible seasonal restroom, picnic tables, park signage delineating County Park Rules and Regulations, and trail signs.
Directions to Root River Park:
Go South on Olmsted County State Aid Highway 1 through Simpson
Go under the underpass
Go about 2 miles, take a left (go East) on 80th Street SE (there is a small grey shed on the corner)
Root River Park is located at the end of the street
There is a sign on County State Aid Highway 1 and at the entrance to Root River Park
The map below is interactive - click on the Legends to see photos.
Map of the Park (1.2 MB)