Lakes, creeks, bike trails and recreation in Minneapolis

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The twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota are separated by the mighty Mississippi River. The state of Minnesota - which is only 1/3 the size of New South Wales - is renowned for having 10,000 lakes (each more than 4 ha in area), so it is a well-watered environment.

The cities are renowned for their tree-lined streets and beautiful parks and gardens, many of which are found around lakes and waterways in the cities. Although the climate of Minnesota is very different to that of Armidale, and the twin cities are much larger, we still look for lessons we can learn from how they have created one of the best ranked Park and Recreation systems in the USA.

As they say on their web page: “Established in 1883, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) oversees a renowned urban park system spanning 6,809 acres of parkland and water. Featured among its 180 park properties are 55 miles of parkways, 102 miles of Grand Rounds biking and walking paths, 22 lakes, 12 formal gardens, seven golf courses and 49 recreation centers. Altogether, MPRB properties receive about 23 million visits annually.“

Most residents of the city have access to parklands within a 10 minute walk of their home. Note the separate bike and walking/running paths along Bde Maka Ska (or Lake White Earth - formerly Lake Calhoun) in Minneapolis.

Most residents of the city have access to parklands within a 10 minute walk of their home. Note the separate bike and walking/running paths along Bde Maka Ska (or Lake White Earth - formerly Lake Calhoun) in Minneapolis.

Walking and biking paths are clearly signposted …

Walking and biking paths are clearly signposted …

Cycling path with walking path in background leading to footbridge over Minnehaha Creek with lots of vegetation along creek banks

Cycling path with walking path in background leading to footbridge over Minnehaha Creek with lots of vegetation along creek banks

Attractive footbridge over Minnehaha Creek

Attractive footbridge over Minnehaha Creek

Attractive road bridges

Attractive road bridges

Attractive spillway

Attractive spillway

In some areas, wetlands are created to filter sediment and nutrients from the water before it enters the lakes and streams

In some areas, wetlands are created to filter sediment and nutrients from the water before it enters the lakes and streams

A viewing platform over a nutrient filtering wetland

A viewing platform over a nutrient filtering wetland

Minnesota  biking guide

Minnesota biking guide

Interpretation signage with maps along the Grand Rounds Parkway

Interpretation signage with maps along the Grand Rounds Parkway