June 18, 2020 at 1:36 p.m.
This year, the park’s tenth anniversary won’t get the fanfare and public exposure park program supporters would like, due to the virus situation. So, this is in tribute to those 10 years of unflagging support and hard work behind Allemansratt.
The park is named for the Nordic tradition of all peoples’ right to roam-- allemansratten.
As a wilderness park versus a developed public property, Allemansratt preserves much old growth forest and wilderness, and a one-and-a-half mile crescent of shoreline on North Center Lake. Bull Lake, an interior body of water at the 17 acre Bull Lake Point, was acquired along with a single family house that was sold to Lindstrom in 2007.
Farming and cattle were also part of Allemansratt history, as a homestead supporting the Anderson family ancestors. They settled the property in 1853--before the first bridge was even built across the St Croix River. Before Minnesota became a state. The same year the stage started a route using a “road” from St Paul to Taylors Falls.
Over the generations farming halted, and part of the homestead was sold, some of the site was gifted to a university, and the 36 acre peninsula on the east side, holding the original farmhouse, was left to return to nature.
The Cedar Ridge housing plat was how Lindstrom got a two-acre outlot as a developer’s parkland dedication.
The hilly and thickly- wooded area known as Allemansratt Woods was the big addition in 2010. These 62 acres ignited the “Friends” group along with other civic organizations. They created designated trails, set-up an obvious entryway sign and deck, and clean-up a former residence that was rented out for a time that’s been razed. Work was done to stabilize soils on trails, invasive buckthorn was attacked, even old barbed wire and the family household dump was cleaned up. A split level house overlooking North Center Lake became a training exercise and was burned by area fire departments.
Shari Bachman, original Friends group organizer and Lindstrom Park Board member, said plans for Bull Lake include a pavilion, restroom and fire pit. The atmosphere alongside 14-acre Bull Lake is a sylvan joy; and city officials envision the future pavilion as a desired location for ceremonial events. Bull Lake is non-motorized year-round. A channel that cuts between the woods and the former residential lot will be getting two walking bridges, Bachman added. Lindstrom got a $200,000 grant from the DNR Outdoor Recreation funding program for the bridge projects. They may wait until next spring depending on other priorities.
The city preserved the 1870’s farmhouse and there are interpretive panels visitors can read to learn more about the Andersons and the entire farmstead.
Preservationist Alyssa Auten worked up the panels installed on the house exterior in 2019. The panel shave with information from the remaining relatives, sisters, Lee and Julie.
“It was a gift to grow up here and I hope people see it as a gift now” a quote from Lee, interviewed in a Trust for Public Land story.
Eagle Scouts, with Troop 159 of Lindstrom, have provided numerous projects: kiosks, campsites, benches, bridges, the hillside entry steps, deck and more.
Bachman also called out many others who have volunteered including: Jeff Lindeman and his high school forestry students,funds made available through the Chisago Lakes Community Foundation; Chisago County SWCD; Evangelical Free Church Youth, and organizations that have been contracted for services--Great River Greening, MN Dept. of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Lake Improvement District, the MN Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment and Environment and Natural Resources Fund.
On one hand, 10 years is a long time, but another way to view this anniversary is to stand back and be grateful for how much has gotten accomplished.
Bachman remarked, “Sometimes I think we aren’t getting much done out there but then I think about everything that we have done, and it is alot.”
The hot dog picnic party that Lindstrom has sponsored annually in the park is cancelled this summer.
Mark your calendars for a Nature Party scheduled for Sunday, September 20, from 1 to 5 p.m.