Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Lake Washington County Park Project

282 views

Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Lake Washington County Park Project

  1. 1. Lake Washington County Park Management Plan Max Dornfeld, Tyler Bastyr, Luke Kraus-Schlichtmann, Jon Hagen, Jack Liesch & Mike Frey 12/6/2013
  2. 2. i Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Table of Contents Park Description………………………………………………………………………………...1 Lake Washington County Park Mission and Vision Statement …………………………..........2 Mission Statement……………………………………………………………………....2 Vision Statement ………………………………………………………………….........2 Chapter 1: The Planning Process and Public Involvement……………………………………..3 Purpose of Public Involvement…………………………………………………………3 Summary of Possible Public Involvement Strategies……………………………..........3 Recommended Public Involvement Strategy …………………………………………..6 Chapter 2: Regional Analysis…………………………………………………………………...7 Natural Resources ……………………………………………………………………...8 Demographics……………………………………………………………………...........8 Public Outdoor Recreation Opportunities ……………………………………….........10 Roles for Lake Washington County Park……………………………………………...12 Chapter 3: Resource Management……………………………………………………….…….13 The Park’s Resource Management Goals and Actions………………………..……….13 Management Zones Development for the Park with Target Benefits………………….14 Two Ecological Regions of Lake Washington County Park…………………………...16 Pre-European Settlement Vegetation and Species…………………………..………….17 Existing Natural Resources and Importance of LAWCON……………………….…...19 Existing Cultural Resources and Minnesota’s Field Archaeology Act………………...21 Chapter 4: Recreation and Visitor Management……………………………………………….22 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….22 Personal and Community Benefits……………………………………………………..22 Proposed Management Zones…………………………………………………………..23 Recreation Resource Management Goals………………………………………………24 Summary of Existing Recreation Resources……………………………………………24 Future of the Park..................................................................................................….......25 Chapter 5: Interpretive Services…………………………………………………………….......26 Current Interpretive Opportunities………………………...……………………………26 New Interpretation…… …………………………………………………………….......27
  3. 3. ii Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Chapter 6: Administration and Implementation……………………………………………........31 Current Administrative Structure ..........................................................................……...31 Recommended Administrative Structure and Implementation…………………………..32 Steps for Implementation ………………………………………………………………..33 References Cited…………………………………………………………………………………35 Appendix A………………………………………………………………………………………36
  4. 4. iii Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Tables Table 1: Major Stakeholder Groups and their Interest in the Park……………………………… 5 Table 2: Stakeholder Groups and Methods Used............................................................................6 Table 3: Local County’s Demographics…………………………………………………………. 9 Table 4: City Parks…………...…………………………………………………………………………...10 Table 5: County Parks…………………………………………………………………………...10 Table 6: State Parks………………………………………………………………………….…..10 Table 7: Lakes and Rivers in the Region………………………………………………………...10 Table 8: Blue Earth County Camping……………………………………………………………11 Table 9: Waseca County Camping……………………………………………………………….11 Table 10: Le Sueur County Camping………………………………………………….................12 Table 11: Management Zones, Goals and Benefits……………………………………………...13 Table 12: Animal Species ……………………………………..…………………………………18 Table 13: Endangered or Threatened Species in Southern Minnesota …………………………19 Table 14: Fish Species in Lake Washington……………………………………………………..20
  5. 5. iv Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Figures Figure 1: Management Zones……………………………………………………………………14 Figure 2: Ecological Regions of Minnesota……………………………………………………..16 Figure 3: Lake Washington Existing Cultural Resources……………………………………….21 Figure 4: Administration Staff Structure………………………………………………………. 32
  6. 6. 1 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Park Description Lake Washington County Park is a 164 acre county park located on the northwestern corner of Lake Washington in Le Sueur County, Minnesota. The initial land purchased for the park was in 1974 by Le Sueur County from the Bauer estate for $85,000, making Lake Washington County Park relatively young. Having nearby rural communities such as Mankato and St. Peter makes the park one of the most popular recreational lakes in the Mankato area. With the exception, of two Minnesota DNR owned and maintained public accesses, Lake Washington County Park is the only public land on the shores of Lake Washington. Over 700 privately owned seasonal or permanent homes with shoreline on the 1,487 acre lake. The park includes, 2,000 feet of undeveloped lake frontage set aside for study and research. Lake Washington County Park has many great attributes to offer its visitors. When you enter the park is the location in which the most human-to-human interaction occurs due to the fact that this is where the camp sites are located. There are 23 electrical and nine none electrical camp sites in this area. There is also a picnic area, playground, and a bathroom/shower house for visitors to use. In Lake Washington County Park there are many great trails that visitors can go on to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
  7. 7. 2 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Lake Washington County Park Missionand Vision Statements MissionStatement: The mission of Lake Washington County Park is to enrich the quality of life for the community and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the County through provision of outstanding trails, open space, natural areas and recreational opportunities within a friendly setting. Vision Statement: Lake Washington County Park should be a natural area that provides: • Opportunities to see and hear native wildlife; • Protection of important natural and cultural resources; • A variety of appropriate recreational opportunities (e.g., land and water; and special events) • Appropriate recreational facilities (e.g, signage, trails, restrooms, interpretive center, etc.); • A natural barrier between adjacent roads and the park’s recreational facilities; • Restored native prairie and forest, beach and creek where agricultural land now exists; • Effective interpretation and environmental education opportunities; • Encourage opportunities to attain target personal, community, economic and environmental benefits, such as opportunities for fun, relaxation and environmental education; and • Opportunities for continued public involvement in decisions made about management of the park.
  8. 8. 3 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Chapter 1: The Planning Process and Public Involvement Purpose of Public Involvement Public involvement in the development of Lake Washington County Park management plan is crucial in maintaining communication between park administration and its users. Communication with the public will increase involvement during the planning and implementation of the management plan. This will add to the overall satisfaction of the users who use Lake Washington Park. Public involvement is key during the planning process, due to the fact that the general public is the people who will be using the facility day in and day out. The public is the primary funding source for the implementation of a management plan and the public will be the continuous users and visitors of Lake Washington County Park. There are numerous levels of public involvement during the planning process. One of the most effective ways to get the public involved is to delegate power to them by using them as consultants and developing partnerships. The rationale behind involving the public to develop a plan for Lake Washington County Park is the better the park for the users through stakeholder groups. A way this is done is through motivators for public participation. Some of the motivators for the users and stakeholders are: they own it, pay for it, and are welcome to use it. As it is their and the agency wants to get the users input, build a sense of trust with them and give them a sense of ownership for the park. Summary of Possible Public Involvement Strategies The levels of participation range from active participation for the citizens to nonparticipation. This spectrum has a very wide range for involvement of citizens in the decision making process. The total involvement of citizens is not up to them in the end it is up to the agency and how much the agency wants the citizens to be involved.
  9. 9. 4 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan When working with the public, it is important to recognize that there are numerous stakeholders involved during the planning process. The stakeholders can be broken up into separate groups. The groups fall into levels of involvement depending on the experience. The groups with more expertise are included in the Technical Advisory Group. Members of this group would include but would not be limited to: the DNR and Local Government. Those with more of an open opinion will be included in the Citizen Advisory Group. Members of this group would include but would not be limited to: park users, residents, and the general public. Correlation between these two groups will lead to a more balanced and efficient planning process. The Technical Advisory Group will be held accountable for providing support and aiding in the decisions of the Citizens Advisory Group. The Citizens Advisory Group will act as spokesperson for the general public on issues dealing with the wants and needs that benefit the people now and future generations that follow. The Citizens Advisory Group will also provide the Technical Advisory Group with thoughts and suggestions from the remaining stakeholders that may not otherwise have a say in the planning process. Both Advisory Groups can benefit from the use of public involvement techniques. One of the techniques includes written communication, which involves mailings, newsletters and public service announcements. The second technique involves the collection of information; this can be done one of two ways. One of the ways would be through public surveys and the second way being focus groups. The third technique involves holding field trips, being involved with festivals and being the host of a local event.
  10. 10. 5 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Stakeholder Group Interest in the Park General Public They own it or have a sense of ownership for the park. Neighbors They live near the park and it is of easy access for them. Managers Managers have a sense of ownership; they feel it is their job to take care of it. Current Users Current Users are the ones who use it most often and want to take care of it. Businesses The park brings people to the area which brings the people to their business. DNR Want to take care of the park to not exceed the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC). Local Government The park brings in new money to the area. Clubs They have a sense of pride while using and maintaining the park. Latent Users Are the owners of land and want to see it being used for a good cause. Also want to see the park used for their recreational opportunities. Table 1: Major Stakeholder Groups and Their Interest in the Park Table 1 shows the major stakeholder groups in the area of Lake Washington County Park. The stakeholders range from the general public to local government and businesses. The table breaks down each stakeholder group’s specific interest in the park and why they want to be involved in the decisions made to and for the park.
  11. 11. 6 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Stakeholders Involvement Technique(s) at the Start of the Process Involvement Technique(s) during the Middle of the Process Involvement Technique(s) at the End of the Process Users -Advisory Group -Media -Electric Networks -Public Hearings -Advisory Group -Workshops -Focus Groups -Advisory Group -Polls -Review and Comment on Drafted Documents Managers -Advisory Group -Workshops -Public Meetings -Public Hearings -Advisory Group -Task Force -Workshops -Review and Comment on Drafted Documents -Advisory Group -Conflict Resolution Techniques -Surveys -Interviews -Polls Neighbors -Advisory Group -Surveys -Brochures -Interviews -Polls -Electronic Network -Media -Public Hearings -Advisory Group -Conflict Resolution Techniques -Focus Groups -Surveys -Advisory Group -Polls -Review and Comment on Drafted Documents Government -Advisory Group -Stakeholder Collaboration -Partnerships -Workshops -Advisory Group -Review and Comment on Drafted Documents -Task Forces -Advisory Group -Surveys -Interviews -Stakeholder Collaboration -Partnerships -Conflict Resolution Techniques Table 2: Stakeholder Groups and Methods Used Recommended Public Involvement Strategy There are several approaches that can be taken in order to get the public involved during the planning process. The first approach to get the public involved would be with the use of media. Through the use of media larger numbers of the public can be reached and informed about Lake Washington County Park and the issues being faced. The use of media will provide dates and times throughout the project for which the public can meet and speak their mind on
  12. 12. 7 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan how they feel the park should be used. The second approach would be to hold multiple hearings throughout the project. The rationale for holding multiple meetings is to reach out to the greatest number of the public possible. The meetings will give information, allow time for the public to be heard or vent on how they feel Lake Washington County Park should be used. After the public hearings the third approach to get the public involved would be to establish focus groups. The focus groups will be used to get diverse ideas, actions or plans of the stakeholders. After hearing from the focus groups, workshops and volunteer opportunities can be formed. The rationale for this is to see what groups care the most and are willing to spend the most time to see that their needs are met. Polls, surveys and interviews will be conducted to gather a general consensus of what is being designed. Finally stakeholder collaboration partnerships will be formed to carry out the plans made and to make sure they are implemented properly. Through the application of various public involvement techniques, stakeholder groups can provide collaborative decisions that play a major role in the planning of Lake Washington County Park. The involvement of Technical Advisory Group and Citizen Advisory Groups allows for the best possible solutions and development of the park by enabling citizens but providing support and aiding in the decisions of the public. Chapter 2: Regional Analysis Lake Washington County Park provides recreation opportunities for people of all types to enjoy but what else is there around the park that makes this location special? There are several different types of natural resources in this region that help determine what kind of public outdoor recreation is available. There is a wide range of different types of people living around this area that benefit from the opportunities that Lake Washington County Park provides. The park plays a high role for people to benefit from the opportunities provided but there are some areas that are
  13. 13. 8 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan could be improved. We’ll see how all these factors contribute to the recreation opportunities around the area as well what it means for Lake Washington County Park. Natural Resources The natural resources of the area in and around Lake Washington County Park determine what types of recreation opportunities that may be available. The region around the park consists of a couple of different types of landscapes. There are plenty of corn, hay, and soy bean farmers around the region that have little groupings of trees with rivers and streams running through it as well. Areas that are not domesticated with homes or farmland will have a mixture of different types of natural resources. Rolling hills is constant throughout the region with having landscape consist of prairie potholes, deciduous trees, lakes, rivers, and wetlands. There is a clash between two different biomes that occur in this region even though it would be hard to spot because of all the farming. Both the prairie pothole and the deciduous trees ecosystems collide in the Lake Washington County Park region. Some trees that are native to the area include maple, oaks, basswood, and some cottonwoods. In the park there are rows of walnut trees that were planted and are not native to the region. These natural resources help provide the people of this region with opportunities to recreate however they would like too. Demographics The people who live in the region of Lake Washington County Park benefit from the parks service more than anyone. Therefore it is very important to understand the demographics of this region so we can satisfy the needs of those who use the park more frequently than outsiders.
  14. 14. 9 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan County: Population: Sex: Race: Median Income: High School Diploma: Blue Earth 65,091 50.3% Males 49.7% Females 92.8% White 3.1% Black 2.3% Asian 1.8% Other $48,911 93.1% Le Sueur 27,703 50.5% Males 49.5% Females 95.5% White 0.3% Black 0.6% Asian 3.6% Other $58,074 90.4% Waseca 19,136 46.9% Males 53.1% Females 93.7% White 2.0% Black 0.7% Asian 3.6% Other $52,357 91.5% Sibley 15,226 50.2% Males 49.8% Females 94.8% White 0.3% Black 0.6% Asian 4.3% Other $52,482 86.9% Nicollet 37,727 50.0% Males 50.0% Females 93.7% White 2.0% Black 1.3% Asian 3.0% Other $59,877 93.0% Table 3: Local County’s Demographics This demographic analysis shows how many and what different types of people live near Lake Washington County Park. Since a majority of the park’s visitors are people that live in the local area we can now draw up ideas of the people’s wants and needs for recreation. It is very important that we understand who our clienteles are before we can make any decisions. Differences in sex, race, and income play a vital role in which recreation people partake in. Making sure that we have a good balance of these different recreation opportunities will help in park attendance as well as satisfaction of using the park. To see what recreation opportunities that the park should offer you first have to take a look at what other opportunities there are around the region for recreation purposes. A couple of barriers that prevent people from enjoying outdoor recreation from most to least common are: not having the time for it, level of awareness, and the area is too developed and too noisy. Since people don’t have a lot of free
  15. 15. 10 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan time to enjoy outdoor recreation it is important to have a place close and relevant to their preferred recreation choice. Public Outdoor Recreation Opportunities Since there is a lot of rivers and lakes to recreate with around this region typically people enjoy being out on the water. With plenty of parks that are created around this region it makes it easy for people to find a place close by. In order for us to come up with recreation ideas for Lake Washington County Park we first have to take a look at what this region already offers for recreation. City Parks: Blue Earth Le Sueur Waseca Nicollet Sibley 7 6 16 8 4 Table 4: City Parks County Parks: Blue Earth Le Sueur Waseca Sibley Nicollet 15 12 14 3 2 Table 5: County Parks State Parks Found in the Region: Minneopa State Park Sakatah Lake State Park Table 6: State Parks Lakes and Rivers Found in Region: County Lakes Major Rivers Parks Along Rivers and Lakes Access Sites Camping Blue Earth 54 6 6 43 6 Le Sueur 59 3 8 46 5 Waseca 24 2 3 20 5 Sibley 26 2 3 15 0 Nicollet 13 4 2 19 0 Table 7: Lakes and Rivers in the Region
  16. 16. 11 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Blue Earth County Camping: Park Size Features Recreation RV/Total Campsites Location Bray Park and Campground 102 Acres Bathhouses, Water, Dump Station, Electric Hookups, Fire Rings/Grills, Picnic Shelters and Tables, Interpretive Centers, Caretakers, Restrooms Fishing Dock, 1.4 Mile Long Trail, Boat Launch, Playground, Some Playground Equipment, Swim Beaches 44/53 Madison Lake Daly Park and Campground 93 Acres Bathhouses, Electric Hookups, Water, Dump Station, Fire Rings/Grills, Picnic Shelters/Tables, Caretakers, Restrooms Boat Ramp, Fishing Docks, Disk Golf Course, Swimming Beach Tennis Court, Horseshoes, Volleyball, Playground Equipment, Canoe/Kayaks Rental, 0.5 Mile Long Trail 67/86 Lura Lake Rapidan Dam Park 38 Acres Water, Fire Rings/Grills, Picnic Shelters/Tables, Caretakers, Restrooms, Firewood, Ice, Bait Fishing, Canoe Launch, Play Equipment, Playground, Red Jacket Trail 14/20 Ripidan Dam Minneopa State Park 1145 Acres Picnic Shelters/Tables, Electrical Hookups, Historic Site, Native Prairie, Dump Station, Geological Information, Waterfall Hiking and Cross Country Skiing Trails, Volleyball, Horseshoes, Fishing, Photography, Visitor Center 61 Minnesota River in Mankato Table 8: Blue Earth County Camping Waseca County Camping: Park Size Features Recreation Campsites Location Sakatah State Park 842 Acres Electrical Hookups, Restrooms, Bathhouses, Dump Station Hiking Trails, Groomed Cross Country Skiing and Snowmobile Trails, Canoe/Kayak Rentals, Boat Ramp, 62 Cannon River near Waterville Table 9: Waseca County Camping
  17. 17. 12 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Le Sueur County Camping: Park Size Features Recreation Campsites Location Lake Washington County Park 166 Acres Electrical Hookups, Restrooms, Dump Station, Fire Rings/Grills, Picnic Shelter/Tables, Bathhouses, Water Canoe Access, Hiking Trails, Playground, Playground Equipment, Education Center, Fishing, Cross Country Skiing 28 East Side of Washington Lake Table 10: Le Sueur County Camping Role for Lake Washington County Park From the information above you can gather that there are several parks other than Lake Washington County Park where people can both camp and recreate. It depends on the type of environment that the visitor is looking for. There is a range of parks that provide little to a lot of outdoor recreational opportunities. Lake Washington County Park has a range of trails that are located along a prairie, deciduous forest, and farmland areas along Lake Washington. Lake Washington County Park is the only park in Le Sueur County that provides camping along with other outdoor recreational opportunities. Reaching the people in the area to come and visit the park will depend on what way to reach the range of demographics. Lake Washington County Park is a medium sized park that provides some camping but not an overcrowding number. Although there are some outdoor recreational opportunities provided there could be more to help benefit the park even more. For most of the community the park provides a place to for bird watching, hiking, canoe and fishing, and cross country skiing during the winter. It is used as a place for people to get out and enjoy the simplistic forms of outdoor recreation with beautiful scenery. It gives the region a more open range to get away from the busy life and loud noise. The visitor can decide whether or not they want to stay a couple of days to enjoy the beauty of the park with RV and tent camping or they can come to visit the park for a few hours.
  18. 18. 13 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Chapter 3: Resource Management Managaement Zone Target Benefits Resource Management Goals Recreation Management Goals Interpretive Goals Rural -Positive changes in mood and emotion -Social bonding -Family bonding -Preservation of cultural and historical sites -Maintenance of physical facilities -Improve campground -Create safe environment -Improve facilities -Focus on motorized camping -Increase recreation opportunities -Improve recreation equipment -Increase knowledge of the park. -Increase visitation to the park. -Educational tours Roaded Natural -Nature appreciation -environmental awareness and understanding -Sense of freedom -Preservation of natural sites -Smooth transition between zones -Improve trails -Improve natural habitat -Increase recreation opportunities -Improve water access -create atmosphere that creates togetherness -Connect people with nature -Inform restoration about the park to the public. -Increase trail system awareness. Table 11: Management Zone, Goals and Benefits The Park’s Resource Management Goals and Actions Lake Washington County Park is broken down into two zones, rural and roaded natural. The purpose of having two zones is to provide a proportionate diversity in the park. The reason for having two zones is because the park is not of size to provide more than two zones. The two zones have specific benefits, resource, recreation, and interpretive goals to successfully establish one from the other. Resource management goals for the rural zone include, but are not limited to, improving the campground by planting trees in between sites to provide a little more privacy for campers. Creating a safe environment is an important piece to the plan by providing safety guidelines and rules for the campsites and park as a whole. The improved facilities will also allow for campers
  19. 19. 14 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan to have sanitary water houses and a defined purpose for the opportunities provided. They will be cleaned regularly and maintenance up keep will be provided as needed. The resource management goals for the roaded natural zone include, but are not limited to, smooth transition between zones; this will be done by planting native vegetation and trees around the boarder. Improvement of trails is important to keep our users safe and satisfied by keeping the trails well maintained. With the improvement of the natural habitat the removal of invasive vegetation, trees, and plants will give the area a more local feel and improve the ecosystem. Management Zones Developedfor the Park with Target Benefits Figure 1: Management Zones
  20. 20. 15 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan The first zone is labeled as rural because there is a main road leading right up the entrance of the campsite which will make it nearly impossible to avoid traffic noise. The campsite holds 23 sites with electric hook-ups and 9 primitive sites. The campground also has a dump station, picnic shelter, shower house, and playground. Also, there will be a well-known presence of human-to-human interaction in this area due to the vehicles entering and campsites being near one another. The rural area will provide opportunities to participate in social and family bonding as well as recreational opportunities and equipment rental to enhance the experience. There is also going to be a lake access for canoes and a building that was used as an interpretation center. Target benefits for the rural zone include positive change in mood and emotion, promoting social and family bonding, and not to forget the upkeep of our facilities will enhance campers experience at Lake Washington County Park. The old steel bridge is located in the rural zone and is planned to be left in its current location to preserve the cultural and historical site. The second zone is labeled as roaded natural; this is the majority of the park after you pass through the rural zone. There is a smooth transition between the two zones. It is a natural appearing environment with moderate evidence of the sights and sounds of humans, however these evidence usually harmonize with the natural environment. The roaded natural zone is a wooded area full of native vegetation and grasslands. On the east side of the roaded natural zone the wooded area and grasslands meet up with the wetlands and lakeshore. This zone has a variety of opportunities for people to experience the wilderness. There are trails throughout the zone, guided tours, and potential to see wildlife. The target benefits will include nature appreciation, environmental awareness and understanding, sense of freedom, and preservation of natural sites. In this zone, the user is more in touch with nature which gives them a better sense of solitude. In
  21. 21. 16 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan the roaded natural zone users need to be aware that this is a preserved area and fines will be distributed to users that are found littering or destructing the wilderness. All the goals and actions will be fused together, with the cooperation of the managers, community, and the users to better the park. Along with having target benefits specifically for each zone, there were some benefits that fall into both the rural and roaded natural zones. They include, but are not limited to, stress relief for the visitors who come and enjoy the park. It gives the community a sense of pride for the quality that the park holds. The park can give a greater community involvement through stewardship of the park. With the park being an attractive welcoming place to be in brings in new and past visitors which give a local and regional economic growth. With the proposed combination of the applied benefits and goals we expect an increase in overall user/management satisfaction. Two Ecological Regions of Lake Washington County Park Figure 2: Ecological Regions of Minnesota
  22. 22. 17 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Lake Washington County Park is located nearby the border of two ecological regions. The two regions are the Minnesota and North Eastern Iowa Morainal (MIM) to the east and the North Central Glaciated Plains (CGP) to the west. These regions are important as they represent the area where the long band of deciduous forest and woodland of the upper Midwest and the plains of the west meet. Pre-European Settlement Vegetation and Species The MIM and CGP region looked very different before the Europeans settled. In the MIM area sandy flat areas were dominated by prairie, savanna, and oak and aspen woodlands. Woodland and forest dominated sites in this section where fire was more uncommon. Mesic forests, forests with a well-balanced supply of moisture, were dominated by sugar maple, basswood, American elm, and northern red oak. Floodplain forests can be found along the valleys of the Minnesota River. In the CGP area, prairie was a big majority of the region. Northern floodplain forest can also be found in this region along the Minnesota River. Some oak- hickory forest can be found along drainages in the southern section of this region. In both the MIM and CGP regions, fire was the most common natural disturbance to the native vegetation. Droughty soils were present which didn’t help stop the fires. Floods and tornadoes were also present, but were not as common as fires were. Today, the major disturbances are logging and clearing the land for agriculture.
  23. 23. 18 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Table 12: Animal Species Table 9 shows the wildlife from each region that were present before the European settlement and the wildlife that is present today. Many of the animals that were present in the Pre-European time have changed to what they are today. A couple of the common animals that you will find today are the white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, and the cottontail rabbit. The main reason these animals have been so successful in the area is because the habitat is to their survival. Also if they are hunted there are regulations to how many can be taken each year so they don’t disappear from the area. This area use to be home to bison and elk, but are no longer present in the wild in this region. Once the landscape changed from prairie/woodland mix to being dominated by agriculture, it has caused some species to either become limited or disappear completely. Table 10 shows the species in Southern Minnesota that are classified as rare by the Minnesota DNR. Minnesota and North Eastern Iowa Morainal North-Central Glaciated Plains Pre-European Current Pre-European Current Bison Coyote Bison Ringneck Pheasant Elk Fox Elk Cottontail Rabbit Coyote Prairie Chicken Antelope Jack Rabbit Prairie Chicken Canada Goose Prairie Wolf Coyote Canada Goose Sandhill Crane Waterfowl Red Fox Wolf Prairie Chicken White-Tailed Deer Fox Gray Squirrel Jack Rabbit Wild Turkey
  24. 24. 19 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Species Type Species Name Status in Southern Minnesota Mammal Northern Long-Eared Bat Proposed as Endangered Fish Topeka Shiner Endangered and Critical Habitat Insects Karner Blue Butterfly Endangered Mussel Higgins Eye Pearlymussel Endangered Mussel Sheepnose Endangered Plant Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily Endangered Plant Leedy’s Roseroot Threatened Plant Prairie Bush Clover Threatened Plant Western Prairie Fringed Orchid Threatened Table 13: Endangered or Threatened Species in Southern Minnesota Existing Natural Resources and Importance of LAWCON The MIM section represents a long band of deciduous forest, woodland, and prairie. This area stretches about 350 miles. Forests of silver maple occupy the active floodplains, while forests of silver maple, cottonwood, box-elder, green ash, and elm occupy terraces that flood infrequently. Much of the CGP region represents level to rolling till plains, moraines, lake plains, and outwash plains. It is supported mainly by treeless areas. These landforms also support smaller amounts of marsh, wetland prairie, and wet meadows. Today Lake Washington County Park has a variety of land. The different pieces of land include wetlands, wooded areas, grasslands, and leased land that is used for agriculture. The wooded area is mostly deciduous and contains maple, oak, basswood, and some cottonwood trees. There is a group of planted walnut trees near the middle of the park. They are planted in rows which doesn’t give it a natural feel. The wetlands are along the east side of the park. This is where the land meets up with Lake Washington. The park has roughly 2,000 total feet of shoreline on the lake, which includes these wetlands. The agricultural land makes up a large
  25. 25. 20 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan portion of the park as well. This land is leased to a private party and used to produce corn, soybeans, and hay which rotate certain years by the farmer’s choice. Lake Washington is a 1,487 acre lake that makes up the eastern boarder of much of Lake Washington County Park (Appendix A). It is one of many lakes in the region. The lake is a popular destination for recreation on the water and anyone who likes to fish. Two DNR owned public accesses are available on the lake. One of which is located right down the road from Lake Washington County Park. The lake is home to a variety of fish species as seen in the Table 11. The fish populations are stable and they do stock the lake each year with walleye species in large numbers. Fish Species Found in Lake Washington Bigmouth Buffalo Bowfin (dogfish) Golden Shiner White Crappie Black Bullhead Brown Bullhead Largemouth Bass White Sucker Black Crappie Common Carp Northern Pike Yellow Bullhead Bluegill Freshwater Drum Walleye Yellow Perch Table 14: Fish Species in Lake Washington The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LAWCON) is important and very interesting to Lake Washington County Park. It was utilized for the initial acquisition and development of the park. It is also a possible source for future funding. In Section 6(f) of the Act requires all funded lands to be retained and used solely for outdoor recreation. Any conversion of these lands to uses other than outdoor recreation must be approved by the National Park Service. With that being said, it is necessary for the agriculture land to be changed back to natural habitat or for the use of outdoor recreation. The resource management goals that we have stated earlier all influence better recreational opportunities within the park. The goals create a safer and more appealing place to be. This then gets more visitors to the park and enjoying what they like best.
  26. 26. 21 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Existing Cultural Resources and Minnesota’s Field Archaeology Act Figure 3: Lake Washington Existing Cultural Resources Figure 3 shows the areas where cultural resources have been found in Lake Washington County Park. There are five archaeological sites, which are not currently active, listed with the Minnesota Historical Society. In the past, pottery shards and arrowheads have been found on the sites from the Woodland Indians. Under the Minnesota Field Archaeology Act (MS 138.31- 138.41) nothing may be built on top of known or suspected archaeological sites. If management has a development plan, they have to submit it to the State Archaeologist, the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. Anything found on the area, the State Archaeologist has ownership, custody and use of the objects and data recovered. As the manager it is best to leave the sites alone and allow for natural resources to grow as they please. It is also good for interpretation to show visitors the sites.
  27. 27. 22 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Chapter 4: Recreation and Visitor Management Introduction While visiting Lake Washington County Park visitors will have many recreational opportunities. Users will take away many benefits for their personal wellbeing as well as community and socially. Implementing two management zones in the park will help manage all of these opportunities to their fullest potential. In this section you will read about these benefits as well as some recreational resource goals that we have for the park. We will also go over the recreational opportunities that are available in the park, along with some of the recreation opportunities that we hope to provide in the future. Personal and Community Benefits Lake Washington County Park provides plenty of personal and community benefits. One of the personal benefits that you gain from coming to Lake Washington County Park is having positive changes in your mood and emotion. The reason why this is one of the benefits is because being out either in the rural zone at the campground or being in the roaded natural zone out in nature, you will gain positive feelings. Another personal benefit that you will receive from being at Lake Washington County Park is having an area that you can relieve some stress. This park provides enough space where you can sit quietly or be near everyone, which ever will provide the most stress relieve in one’s life. Being out in the roaded natural zone of the park will also provide a sense of freedom, appreciation of nature and environmental awareness and understanding. Having 156 acres of land provides enough space where someone can get away from everyday life by enjoying one of the many recreational opportunities the park provides.
  28. 28. 23 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Lake Washington County Park not only provides many personal benefits to someone it also provides many social and community benefits. The first social benefit that it provides is it is an area for great social bonding. This benefit is more based out of the rural zone of the park because this is where most of the social interactions between people will be occurring but it can also happen in the roaded natural zone as well. Another social benefit the park provides is family bonding. The park is very family orientated and welcomes all who want to use it, even pets. Providing a park that the community is proud of is one of the benefits that the park will also bring. With this the community can almost make a name for it-self. Having an area that is well maintained and clean will bring people to the bark. With this there will be greater community involvement. If the park is a great place to come and visit this will bring in people from all around the state and area. With this local community’s will benefit economically. Proposed Management Zones For the management of Lake Washington County Park we will be implementing a two zone management technique. The first management zone will be a rural area. This will have the campground and most of the recreational facilities and equipment. The second zone will be a roaded natural area. This will consist of most of the trail systems, wooded areas, grass lands and wetlands of the park. The reason why we are splitting the park up into two zones is because we feel that there are enough differences in the management techniques that we are going to use to have two zones. In the rural zone we are going to be focusing more on a recreational side of management. In the roaded natural zone we are going to be focusing on a natural nature feeling management type.
  29. 29. 24 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Recreation Resource Management Goals Lake Washington County Park has many management goals that they are trying to provide. The first goal for the park is to provide opportunities to see and hear native wildlife. We feel like this is important because when out in a park like this one being able to see and hear wildlife creates that extra experience that you can only get outside of the city. Also it is important to the wildlife to have an area big enough that they can comfortably live in. Another goal that the park has is the protection of natural and cultural resources. This is important to the recreational part of it because the memories that people make here biased on the land and the resources we have are important to keep for future generations. The last two goals of the recreational part of piece are to provide an appropriate amount of recreational opportunities and have appropriate recreational facilities. We want our park to have the most available recreational opportunities while not having too many, our visitors are overwhelming with them. We feel like we should provide well marked trail systems along with the correct amount of facilities to handle our recreational opportunities. Summary of Existing Recreation Resources Lake Washington County Park provides a ton of recreational opportunities for its visitors. In the rural zone the park has thirty one campsites in total, available for use. There are twenty two sites with electricity (six with 50-amp service, the rest are 30-amp), six sites without and three primitive sites. Also there is a Picnic shelter, a dump station, a shower/ washroom facility, water supplies and a walking trail around the camp site. There also is a playground, basketball hoop, and interpretive center available for people to rent out.
  30. 30. 25 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan In the roaded natural zone, for the summer/ warmer months the park offers a walking trail throughout the wooded area and grassland. This is great to go on hikes through the woods or maybe even bird watching. There is no motorized vehicles welcome on the trails, although mountain bikes are welcome. There also is a canoe launch to the east side of the parking lot as you come in. Like previously stated there are no public boat launches in the park but there are two available on the else ware. In the winter months the trails are open for cross country skiers and people who want to go snow shoeing. Over all, the park provides a good selection of recreational opportunities for visitors. The park fulfills their goals of management, vision statement and target benefits that they want their visitors to have. Providing two zones people can get the connection with nature as well as a stress reliever. Also visitors are able to recreate in ways that will provide them with the most benefits quite easily with the amount of recreational opportunities provided in the area. Future of the Park Some of the other recreational opportunities that we are trying to provide in the future of the park are a mountain bike trail, better marked and easier accessed trails, volleyball courts, reopening of interpretive center, improved campsites and equipment available for rental. With having the park opened all year will provide different types of equipment available for use. Some of the equipment that will be available in the winter months will be snow shoes and cross country skies. In the summer months, there will be different types of balls, canoes, kayaks just as some examples.
  31. 31. 26 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Some of the changes that will probably occur in the park will be improved walking trails and better posting of signs throughout the park. We will put in a trail head at the end of the parking lot showing the mapped areas of the park as well as what trails go to what areas. On the trails there will be markings on where the trails lead incase if some people get twisted around in the roaded natural zone. With this people will be able to access the lake a little better. Also we are hoping on putting in volleyball courts as well as expand the playground that is currently there with more improved equipment as well as its size. Another thing that we might look at in the next fifty years is to put in a fishing pear on the east side of the park. This will provide an easy opportunity for people who don’t have boats to be able to fish. Chapter 5: Interpretive Services Current Interpretive Opportunities Currently, Lake Washington County Park offers minimal interpretive services. The interpretive center, located within the roaded natural zone, was originally a center to provide a learning experience for visitors at an individual based pace. Today, this center is for rental use only, and offers little to no information about the park or the surrounding area. Along with the interpretive center, remnants of past interpretive user trails and signs are visible throughout the park, as seen in the roaded natural and semi-primitive motorized zones. These were once offered as a self-guided tour of the park and offered information on plants, trees and various other parts of the habitat. Currently, these signs are falling apart and provide no use at this time. Overall, current interpretive services offer minimal educational opportunities for visitors of Lake Washington County Park and visitors aren’t using the park for these interpretive opportunities at the current time.
  32. 32. 27 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) defines interpretation as a mission based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between interests of the audience and the inherent meaning in the resources. This being said, it is very important that interpretive services are provided at Lake Washington County Park. The park will provide a range of interpretive opportunities for all of our users throughout the rural and roaded natural zones. The major interpretive opportunities provided for the users will include a website online, an information booth as you enter the park, brochures, park and trail maps, park and trail signage and scheduled educational tours. New Interpretation The information booth will assist all users with the option to learn about the park and providing ideas and opportunities that will be available while attending the park. The information booth is a personal informal delivery of interpretation. The booth will also provide different maps users can take that show the park grounds and surrounding area. More specifically the maps show visitors the different areas of the park, the management zone types and locations, permitted camping locations and provided recreation activity locations. Throughout the park will be numerous types of signs to direct users in the park. There will be a sign on the outside of the information booth as you enter the park. This will include a map with a map key of the entire park. It will also include arrows to point users in the right direction for whatever they might be looking for. Along the trails will be signs posted with mini maps to show them where they are and where they can go from how to reach their destination as desired. There will also be brochures that users will be able to take with them. The brochures are a non-personal form of interpretation that allows users to explore their options free from outside
  33. 33. 28 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan human interaction if they want to do it on their own. The brochures include rules and regulations for the park users and campers as well as the rules per zone. Also provided in these are the recreation opportunities and rental equipment availability such as the hours and any fees that might apply. Educational tours are available for users upon request. This is the parks personal and formal delivery option for users to walk with another person or a group and for those who would prefer not reading as they venture through the park. These tours will provide users with a better idea of what Lake Washington County Park is about, what it has to offer and the history of the park. The tours will require an appointment scheduled at least one day in advance to make sure that there is a guide available. The only opportunity for a tour the day of request will be if there are two booth workers and one is a tour guide. The last interpretive opportunity is the Lake Washington County Park website. This website will provide people on the web with everything they need to know. This includes everything the park has to offer such as camping information, rules and regulations, mission statement, fees, special dates, phone number, services offered, dates of operation, hours of operations, employment opportunities and anything else you could think of. Users with physical and mental disabilities are offered the same programs; however, it is understood that not everyone is able to participate at the same mental and physical level so each person’s ability will be taken into consideration and will be handled in a professional manner. Users will be asked to provide information of disabilities prior to participation in any program so the proper accommodations and modifications are made. The interpretive staffing is very important for Lake Washington County Park to ensure the users are provided with correct information and effective services. The parks interpretive
  34. 34. 29 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan staff will vary according to season. All interpretive staff will be interviewed, hired, trained and supervised by the park manager. The interpretive booth will be open Monday through Friday from 9am - 5pm and weekends from 9am – 2pm in the summer. There will be one or two workers in the booth depending on how many campers the park expects according to reservations. There will be 4 or more part time workers hired for this position in the summer. In the late spring and early fall the attendants will only be present Thursday through Sunday from 10am to 2pm due to less users attending the park. For holidays or special events there will be two staff members to assist the larger groups. Booth attendant(s) will be knowledgeable of the entire park and are there to offer assistance for any informational purpose that may be requested by users. Tour guides and are hired as seasonal workers for the summer. There will be two guides given the position so we will have one available as needed. Since the tour guide will be an interpretive expert who is very familiar with the entire park they will also be offered to work at the booth for extra hours since tours are not necessarily a daily operation. This person will be able inform users of the mission and vision that Lake Washington County Park strives for and how it is being achieved. He or she will be able to explain the difference and purpose between the two zones, the types of animals and vegetation in the park, recreational opportunities, and the history of the park and how it has come to its current state. Interpretive techniques that will be used at Lake Washington County Park include selecting the topic and themes considering the resources at hand, interests of the audience and the desires of management. This should be relatively simple for our tour guides since they will be interpretive experts and very knowledgeable of the park. Both guides and booth workers will be able to connect tangibles (facts, giving an intellectual picture) to the intangibles (real life
  35. 35. 30 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan examples to connect the audience with intellectual picture) by using universal concepts (ideas likely to appeal to everyone, regardless of individual filters). When park users sign up for a tour they will be asked to complete a short survey about the park and their personal life. Since most tours are scheduled a day in advance this will give the guide an idea of how much the audience already knows about the park, what they might have in common and what their personal interests are. The goals we want to achieve by providing users with these opportunities are split into two categories, rural zone interpretive goals and roaded natural interpretive goals. The reason it is divided is because we find each zone to be very important and realize that to be successful we need to consider that each user may have different wants and needs per zone. The rural interpretive goals begin by increasing knowledge of the park that users obtain. This goal is important to apply so users know what the park has to offer, and leave with a better understanding and excitement about the park as a whole. Increasing visitation to the park is another important goal that is crucial to having a successful park. This is done by providing take home brochures and maps that people can keep for information or share with others. Also will be our website because the web has become very popular with upcoming generations making it the easiest way to reach out to the community and initiate public involvement. The third goal includes educational tours for users to walk the main area of the park and learn about the reason the park was developed this way and how the annual costs influence limitations. Connecting people with nature, informing the public of the restoration of the park, and increasing trail systems are three recommendations to use as interpretive goals. The roaded natural zone should include at least these three goals if not more if the parks reputation and attendance is expected to improve. This piece of land is very important because the world is
  36. 36. 31 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan developing and the natural lands are disappearing. It gives users the feeling of what natural wild life is all about and maybe they will realize the beauty. The goals in both zones connect to the vision statement as mentioned there will be the opportunities to so and hear native wildlife, the informing users of the parks is an effective form of interpretation and provides educational opportunities which will help to protect natural and cultural resources and encourage returning and new users to participate in the fun and relaxation with an opportunity to learn. The management actions are related since we will be providing an information booth with interpretive attendant, brochures and maps as well as educational tours, guided tours and different signage throughout the park all helping accomplish the goals. The goals are also divided among the zones and interpretive opportunities can be done separately or combined. Chapter 6: Administration and Implementation Current Administrative Structure The current administrative structure at Lake Washington County Park is very simple. The Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners is the Administrative agency that runs the operations of management of the park along with the funding of the park. The county hires a part-time employee to take care of the day-to-day operations and responsibilities with the park. Housing is provided for the employee in exchange for the services he or she provides. Le Sueur County doesn’t have any departments associated with parks and recreation or any tax levy for parks. To get fund for the Lake Washington County Park, they collect from tax revenues, sale of crops raised on the parkland, donations.
  37. 37. 32 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Recommended Administrative Structure and Implementation The Administrative plan that we would like to implement would vastly change from the original Administrative plan. We would like to keep the Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners as the head chair of the park. With the changes being made in our proposal for Lake Washington County Park, we would like to hire a few full-time positions. We would like to start a Parks and Recreation department associated with Lake Washington County Park to bring in more customers/campers. With the many parts that we would like to add to the park, there would need to be a few more employees. The following chart is an example of employees needed for operations. Figure 4: Administration Staff Structure Le Sueur county Board of Commisioners Grounds supervisor Grounds Employee Office Employee Park Manager
  38. 38. 33 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan The Job description of each position is as followed: Park Manager: The Park Manager will be in charge of the overall day-to-day operations of the park. He/she will make sure the park is well kept and up to code on all parts of the park. He/she will also be in charge to overlook the Grounds Supervisor, Grounds Employee, and Office Employee. You will also be required to keep inventory on equipment rental, number of campers and clientele within the park. Grounds Supervisor: The Grounds Supervisor will be in charge of the up-keep and condition of the park. He/she will make sure the paths/trails are kept clear of debris each day, parking lot/campsites are clean and clear of garbage, and the grass is mowed and kept clean and clear of garbage. Grounds Employee: The Grounds Employee will assist the Grounds Supervisor. The everyday duties will be assigned by the Grounds Supervisor. Some Duties may require heavy lifting, mowing, weed whipping, and other various duties to keep the park safe and clean. Office Employee: The Office Employee will be helping customers and campers with questions and concerns. You will be required to sell camping passes and equipment rental…etc. Experience with customers is preferred but not required. Steps for Implementation There are many steps to be made for Lake Washington County Park to get where we would like it to be. The first few steps that need to be looked at are the overall look of the park. The park needs to look more inviting for people to want to come and stay at the park. The campsite then, needs to be updated. We would like to get and equipment shed built in place to
  39. 39. 34 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan rent out various equipment to the guests. The many recommendations that we would like Lake Washington County Park to consider will take some time to accomplish, but once accomplished the future looks bright for the park.
  40. 40. 35 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan References Cited Blue Earth County, Minnesota. (2013). Official Website. Retrieved November 26, 2013 from http://www.blueearthcountymn.gov Brochu, L., Merriman, T. (2008). Personal Interpretation: Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources. National Association for Interpretation. Campgrounds in Le Sueur County, Minnesota. (2013). Parks. Retrieved November 26, 2013 from www.hikercentral.com Explore Minnesota Tourism. (2013). Parks. Retrieved November 26, 2013 from http://www.exploreminnesota.com Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (2013). Lake Information Report. Retrieved November 26, 2013 from http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/showreport.html?downum=40011700 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (2013). Land and Water Conservation Fund (LAWCON). Retrieved November 24, 2013 from http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/lawcon/index.html Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (2013). Ecological Subsections of Minnesota. Retrieved November 22, 2013 from http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ecs/index.html Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (2013). Public Recreation Information Maps. Retrieved November 25, 2013 from http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/prim.html Minnesota Historical Society. (2013). Preservation Legislation. Retrieved November 26, 2013 from http://www.mnhs.org/shpo/review/legislation.htm Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. (2013, September 25). Minnesota Stormwater Manual. Retrieved November 22, 2013 from http://stormwater.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/Overview_of_basic_stormwater_concepts Region 9 Regional Development Commission. (2013). County Profiles. Retrieved November 26, 2013 from http://www.rndc.org// State Demographer’s Office. (2010). Minnesota Census Results. Retrieved November 25, 2013 from http://www.demography.state.mn.us/ US Census Bureau. (2010). US Department of Commerce. Retrieved November 25, 2013 from http://www.census.gov/people Waseca County, Minnesota. (2013). Parks. Retrieved November 26, 2013 from http://www.co.waseca.mn.us
  41. 41. 36 Lake WashingtonCountyParkManagementPlan Appendix A

×