When the lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls was closed to ship and boat traffic two years ago, it became pretty much just that: a closed lock. After years of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sponsored tours, the lock and its visitor’s center was off-limits to the public.
That changed in 2016 when the lock was re-opened for summertime tours, thanks to a partnership between the Corps, the National Park Service and the non-profit organizations Mississippi Park Connection and Friends of the Lock and Dam. Those tours will continue beginning Sunday and run through Labor Day Weekend. Tours both guided and unguided will be available seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Public access to the lock may be a sign of what’s to come in the future. After closing the lock under orders of the U.S. Congress, the Corps still owns the facility and can open it during periods of high-water volumes for flood control. But it is currently in the midst of a process to decide what the long-term use should be.