Urgent: Battle Creek Grassland at Risk
Since we learned of the threat in late 2020, Saint Paul Audubon members and friends have been asking Ramsey County and Maplewood to preserve the 77- acre grassland adjacent to Battle Creek Regional Park. (Refer to the attached fact sheet for information on the importance of this grassland.) We have partnered with other organizations, attended public hearings, met with the county commissioners and the mayor of Maplewood, and worked to build public awareness of this amazing, little-known natural area.
The grassland, owned by the county, was once slated for inclusion in the park, but the Ramsey County board is eyeing it for development, citing the need for affordable housing (which we fully acknowledge). The county has gone so far as to send out a Request for Developer Interest.
The county has issued a new draft of the Battle Creek Park Master Plan. The grassland is not part of the draft plan, but it should be, and there is still hope. The county is asking the public to send comments to Benjamin Karp ([email protected]) by October 31.
Your comment will be more effective if you also contact the county commissioners and ask them to protect the grassland and include it in Battle Creek Regional Park as an Environmental Natural Area.*
Calling and following up with an email is most effective.
*From page 99 of the draft plan:
Environmental Natural Area: Ramsey County Park & Recreation department Environmental Natural Areas have been identified in Regional Parks having significant natural resources. Environmental Natural Areas (ENA) are defined within Regional Parks as having significant, sensitive, and unique natural resources to Ramsey County that warrant extended preservation. The habitat and vegetation within these areas is managed to support and enhance these natural communities. These areas are designated for increased habitat protection, ecological restoration, passive recreation and environmental education. Any development expansion within these areas is limited to trails only, with nature interpretation facilities allowed within the planned development areas of Tamarack Nature Center only. Public access to these areas is restricted to designated trails and the use of these areas is limited to passive forms of recreation such as hiking, skiing and nature viewing. Bicycles and offroad cycling is allowed only on designated trails. Dogs and off-trail activities are not allowed
Please send emails to:
- Benjamin Karp (for the Battle Creek Regional Park master plan) [email protected]
- District 1: Commissioner Frethem, 651-266-8355, [email protected]eycounty.us
- District 2: Commissioner McGuire, 651-266-8356, [email protected]
- District 3: Commissioner Matascastillo, 651-266-8360, [email protected]
- District 4: Commissioner Carter, 651-266-8364, [email protected]
- District 5: Commissioner Ortega, 651-266-8367, [email protected]
- District 6: Commissioner McDonough, 651-266-8357, [email protected]
- District 7: Commissioner Reinhardt, 651-266-8368, [email protected]
Find your district and commissioner at https://www.ramseycounty.us/your-government/leadership/board-commissioners/find-your-commissioner .
Here are some talking points:
- This grassland is home to rare and declining bird species.
- Unlike wetlands, grasslands have no protection in Minnesota.
- Nature is important for the community; this has been particularly evident during the pandemic.
- We ask that this county-owned property be included in Battle Creek Regional Park as an Environmental Natural Area.
- Housing can be built on degraded properties in the county.
Please use your own words and identify yourself, particularly if you live in Ramsey County.