By Christine Goepfert | March 10, 2021
Written in response to ‘Feds find no takers for mothballed Mississippi River lock in Minneapolis’.
To the Editor:
Contrary to a recent article, “Feds find no takers for mothballed Mississippi River lock in Minneapolis,” the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock is open for business and a vital hub of activity.
Since the lock was closed in 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers no longer serves navigation at the site; however, National Park Service rangers at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area have given hundreds of public tours there. Visitors can experience the only major waterfall on the Mississippi from an observation deck while learning about the history of our nation’s iconic river. And these tours are popular. Once the park service opened the doors to the public, there was an immediate ten-fold increase in visitors.
People clearly want to experience the river. Yet the Corps wants to walk away and is not even funding upkeep in the process. The lock is still critical to the water supply for nearly a million people and local flood control mitigation. Letting this building deteriorate while they try to find a new owner jeopardizes safety and public enjoyment of the river.
And there is no other viable owner. The Corps built the structure and has the expertise and budget to maintain it, so should continue that responsibility.
The Corps must stay as a valued community partner, and Congress should support them by expanding their role at the lock to protect the region’s water supply and ensure continued recreational opportunities for all.
Christine Goepfert is associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association. NPCA protects and enhances America’s National Park System for present and future generations.
Read the letter at StarTribune.com