The Lock and Dam: Bring a New Perspective on an Old River

Here's an excerpt!

National Park Service rangers still take visitors on tours of the lock and dam, as it is part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. But now there is a grand vision to transform the site, along with the historic stone arch bridge just downstream, into a major recreation area.

John Anfinson, superintendent for the recreation area, sees the potential.

"One of the things, as an advocate, is that people in the Twin Cities don't know that this is a national park, and part of the (national) park system. It's a highly visible location, which raises the visibility of the Park Service. It's great for tourism.,"  he says.

Folded into the grand plans, the James J. Hill Stone Arch Bridge, completed in 1883 for the railroad, already sees thousands of pedestrians as part of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail. Though it needs about $13 million in repairs, the bridge is becoming an ever more popular spot for bikes, kids and walkers, and increasing.

"Our visitation has grown from 112,000 in 2015, to 221,000 in 2016, and over 400,000 visitors in 2017," says Anfinson. "If St. Anthony becomes a world-class visitor center, then over 2 million people will cross the stone arch bridge." Every Fathers Day weekend, the Stone Arch Festival entertains over 10,000 people a day with music, food, and entertainment. And that sort of thing could grow.

Read the full article in the National Park Traveler Essential Guide here.