Ole Olson Park Habitat Restoration

A more welcoming shoreline with restored native prairie habitat will accompany a new trail connection at Orvin “Ole” Olson Park in Minneapolis.

Project Details

City: Minneapolis

Type: Capital Improvement Project

Status: Active

Timeline: 2024

MWMO Funding: $419,960

Partners: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Staff Contact:

Emmy Baskerville
Projects and Grant Specialist
Email Emmy Baskerville
View Bio

An MWMO grant to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will be used to improve access to the Mississippi River and expand native prairie habitat at Orvin “Ole” Olson Park, where a long-awaited bike and pedestrian trail connection is being constructed.

The MPRB is planning a number of improvements to the park, which is located just north of downtown Minneapolis. These include new bike and pedestrian trail connections underneath the BNSF railroad bridge between West River Road and the 26th Avenue North Overlook. These new connections will close a significant trail gap within the greater Minneapolis parks system. A new riverfront gathering space and trailside overlook are also planned at the park.

Ole Olson Park Adopted Concept Plan JPEG
The Ole Olson Park Adopted Concept Plan. (Credit: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)

The site contains contaminated soils that were pushed to the edges of the riverbank during a previous era to create more space for industrial uses. Potential contaminants include petroleum products, chlorinated solvents, and other industrial debris. Removing and properly disposing of these contaminated soils will ensure they don’t erode over time and pollute the river.

Removing the contaminated soils will also allow for a more gradual slope that improves sightlines and pedestrian access to the riverbank and create a better relationship between the park and the river. The new, shallower slope will make it easier to establish the new native grasses and flowers, which will connect with a previous habitat restoration project currently maintained by Friends of the Mississippi River.

The project design calls for a custom upland dry prairie seed and plug mix with a fast-germinating cover crop. Live stakes or other bioengineering techniques may also be installed where the trail passes under the BNSF bridge. The project presents an opportunity to add a new high-quality habitat corridor along the Mississippi River north of St. Anthony Falls. The new bike and pedestrian trails through the park will connect with the 26th Avenue North Overlook, which the MWMO supported with a grant for habitat enhancements in 2019.

Learn More

MPRB Project Page

See more photos of this project on Flickr.

Ole Olson Park