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Secluded park offers a range of recreation opportunities

A sign warns people to stay on the trails at the Spring Lake Park Reserve archery range.1 / 2
The entrance to the Lower Spring Spring Lake Park can be found off of Pine Bend Trail east of CF Industries.2 / 2

Down a sleepy little path one way is the Mississippi River. Walk the other way and there is a state of the art archery trail. These are just a few of the amenities the Spring Lake Park Reserve offers.

Tucked in behind industrial companies and farm houses the park overlooks the Mississippi River and offers a number of recreational opportunities to area residents. The Dakota County Park is located in the eastern border of Rosemount and crosses into Nininger Township.

Dakota County parks representative Doug Gross said the 1,200 acre park gets about 93,000 visitors a year. Visitors most often hike the miles of trails that take trekkers to incredibly scenic places.

There's so much more at the park, though. During the summer months Dakota County offers 66 garden plots on the land. Gross said it's a popular program people take advantage of consistently.

The Schaar's Bluff Gathering Center provides a public lobby where park visitors can get information including maps about the park. The center has a meeting room that can be rented for corporate, school or personal events.

"It's really a great place for meetings," said Gross.

The archery trail is open from February through November. The state of the art facility offers a place for hunters to hone their skills in an outdoors setting or just a fun shooting experience for archers. Gross said the trail is used often.

"People seem to really enjoy it," he said.

The archery trail includes six practice targets and two 14-station trail loops. Those loops include four 80-yard elevated shot opportunities. Use of the archery trail requires a pass. The pass cost $5 for a day or $30 for a season.

Spring Lake also includes a model airfield. Gross said the airfield is used by a number of groups to fly their model airplanes. The airfield includes north-south and east-west runways. The airfield offers a one-quarter mile flying radius and a picnic area with grill and tables.

A season $40 pass is required to use the airfield.

The park also has several picnic shelters that are available for use, including one at the archery trail, one on the east end of the park and another on the west end. Both shelters are available for rent and can accommodate large groups.

The park will get some improvements in the years to come. Part of the Mississippi Regional Trail travels through the park. When completed, the trail will connect South St. Paul to Hastings. According to the Dakota County website construction has been done in segments and should be completed in 2014. Gross said the addition of the trail through Spring Lake has increased visibility to the park reserve. That will continue to increase as users become more familiar with the trail.

Overall, Gross said the park offers a lot for visitors. He encouraged people to check it out.

"There are great opportunities for people to use the amenities and lots of recreational activities," said Gross.

For more information on Spring Lake Park Preserve visit the Dakota County website at or go to the park. The entrance to the gathering center and archery range is off of Pine Bend Trail.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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