Afton State Park Management Plan Amendment
Located on the bluffs of the St. Croix River Valley, Afton State Park offers a near-wilderness experience at the edge of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, with activities ranging from birdwatching to horseback riding and backpack and boat-in camping.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Parks and Trails is amending the management plan for Afton State Park to make a number of changes to better serve park visitors while protecting park resources. The plan amendment addresses the following issues:
- It recognizes a new use—camper cabins—and recommends the addition of a sanitation building to serve the cabins and adjacent group camping facilities.
- It identifies a potential location for a third group camp a short distance north of the two existing group camps.
- It analyzes several options for the extension of the Saint Croix Valley Regional Trail to or through the state park, and recommends a route that would improve an existing paved trail to provide access to the Visitor Center.
- It recommends additional changes in the location and use of park trails, balancing the needs of various trail users.
- It analyzes various options for addressing the issue of on-street parking at the park's northern boundary.
- It revises the park's statutory boundary to recognize changes in land use and development of previously planned areas.
A management plan sets the direction for the state park for the next 15-20 years and includes recommendations for managing natural and cultural resources and providing recreational and interpretative opportunities to park visitors. The changes described in the plan amendment will foster close-to-home recreational opportunities and attract new users to the park while preserving its wilderness character.
The public comment period for the draft master plan ended on August 5, 2011. An open house was held on June 21, 2011, at the park. DNR staff have incorporated comments from the open house and other comments received in the "public review" section of the final draft plan amendment.
This draft is currently awaiting review by the DNR Commissioner's office. The Commissioner must approve all park plans and plan amendments.