Bridgeview Park Reserve preserves rare habitat in Sherburne County

Careful planning for growth in Sherburne County led to the establishment of Bridgeview Park Reserve in recent years, a public park along the Mississippi River with approximately 1,200 feet of shoreline.

Great River Greening is partnering with the County to restore oak savanna on the 28.8 acre parcel, which holds a rare, nearly undisturbed pre-European plant community.

Preserving unique landscapes and shoreline is a priority for the county, which is among the fastest growing in Minnesota. It’s blend of woodlands, savanna and prairies, rivers and waterways, commercial and hobby farms, as well as urban communities are attractive to many. It takes careful planning to steer that growth and still protect its critical natural features – the Mississippi River, the Anoka Sand Plain, and widely diverse native habitat.

With its biological significance of vegetation and the strategic location along the river, Bridgeview Park Reserve keeps that land in its natural condition and provides public access to it for educational and low-impact recreational opportunities.

“Here in Sherburne County, we have some 34,000 acres in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and Sand Dunes State Forest that people think of as parkland. For us to protect more land, it has to be pretty special.” Brian Benson, Zoning Administrator for the County in 2000, when planning for Bridgeview began.

This winter, Great River Greening completed cedar and buckthorn removal – producing 28 semi loads that were chipped for biomass. “The thinning was a major step in restoring the Oak Savanna habitat on the site,” said Todd Rexine, Great River Greening Director of Operations. Current and future work at the reserve includes broadcast seeding of native grasses, follow up treatment of buckthorn resprouts and seedlings, and prescribed burning.

This project is made possible by Sherburne County, Sherburne Soil & Water Conservation District, Connexus Energy, and Outdoor Heritage Fund