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Minnesota River Valley Planning

Minnesota Valley State Trail Updates

The Minnesota Valley State Trail is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR) project funded by the State Legislature.  In 2014, the State Legislature approved $2.164 million to construct the Bloomington segment of the State Trail, which extends between the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center and the Bloomington Ferry Road trailhead.  The State Trail corridor through Bloomington will contain a paved trail as well as a natural surface trail. 

MnDNR is currently in the process of defining the trail alignment and preparing design documents.  Questions regarding the State Trail should be directed to Brandon Helm with MnDNR Parks and Trails at

Latest News

MnDNR has hired an environmental consulting firm to provide wetland delineation services for the entire Minnesota Valley State Trail - Bloomington segment corridor (Bloomington Ferry Bridge to I-494).  During the summer months, crews will be on site surveying plants and soils along the proposed route for the trail in order to determine the location and boundaries of wetlands as defined by Minnesota and Federal law.  Their activities may include use of vehicles and flagging of wetland boundaries.  A City park access permit for personnel and vehicles was issued on June 14.

Identification of wetlands is necessary at this point in the project to ensure that the State has accurate and current data available as they follow through on their commitment to minimize the impact of trail development on the natural and cultural resources present in the valley.

Questions regarding this work should be forwarded to Brandon Helm with MnDNR Parks and Trails at


The trail was authorized in 1969 by the State Legislature to establish a continuous 72-mile trail corridor extending from Fort Snelling State Park to the City of Le Sueur.  While much of the trail upstream (i.e., soutwest) of Shakopee is in place, the segment from Shakopee to Fort Snelling has not been complete.  This is the portion of the trail that passes through Bloomington. 

Minnesota River Valley Strategic Plan

In early 2014, the City of Bloomington began work on a strategic plan for City property in the Minnesota River Valley.  The purpose of the Minnesota River Valley Strategic Plan (MRVSP) is to identify opportunities to enhance access, use, and stewardship of the portion of the Minnesota River Valley owned by and located within the City of Bloomington. The MRVSP also recommends preparation of four "system plans" over the next few years to identify and prioritize specific implementation actions regarding:  natural and cultural resources; signage; trails; and maintenance.

The Minnesota River Valley Strategic Plan (MRVSP) was approved by the City Council on January 25, 2016.  A copy of the final approved plan is available for review or download in the Final Plan tab below.

Latest News

​Staff has begun work on the Natural Resources System Plan (recommended in the MRVSP) in 2016.  It is anticipated that the work on this plan will be completed by the end of 2017. Opportunities for public input will be provided during a series of stakeholder meeting this fall.  These meetings will be open to the public and information on dates and locations will be posted here.

Please check back on this web page periodically for updates and for the latest information on public input opportunities.

Final Plan: Available for download

The Minnesota River Valley Strategic Plan (MRVSP) identifies several priority activities, including preparation of four more detailed system wide plans addressing natural and cultural resources, trails, signs, and maintenance.  Detailed outlines of the proposed priority projects, including estimates of staff time and consultant assistance needed to complete each project, are included in Appendix C below.

The Minnesota River Valley Strategic Plan - FINAL PLAN is available for download below.

PDF icon January 2016 MRVSP Final Plan

PDF icon Appendix A: Public Outreach Summary

PDF icon Appendix B: Known Historic Sites

PDF icon Appendix C: System Plan Outlines

Summary of Feedback on Draft Plan

Public Input Schedule

Several opportunities throughout the planning period were provided for members of the community to provide input on the project as listed below.

Public Hearings and Formal Review - Official action (approvals) were made at Regular Meetings, which members of the public attended and provided comments.

  • December 17, 2015 - Planning Commission (hearing)
  • January 14, 2016 - Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission
  • January 25, 2016 - City Council (hearing)

PDF icon MN Valley Strategic Plan Planning Commission Public Hearing Notice

PDF icon MN Valley Strategic Plan City Council Public Hearing Notice

Project Web page was created on the City of Bloomington webpage: (keywords: “MN Valley Plan”) and a project e-subscribe list was created.

On-line survey were made available on City of Bloomington webpage and through project e-subscribe mailing list. (Survey posted June 26- Aug 15, 2014)

Community Open House #1 (July 31, 2014) – opportunity provided input on plan vision, goals, and initial concepts.

Community Open House #2 (June 17, 2015) - opportunity provided input on draft plan recommendations.

Other Meetings

Study Meetings were held with PARC, Planning Commission & City Council throughout the planning process in 2014:

  • Updates presented at Study Meetings, which members of the public may attend, but no testimony is taken.
    • April 9, 2014 – PARC
    • April 10, 2014 – Planning Commission
    • May 12, 2014 – City Council
    • Nov. 11, 2014 – PARC
    • Nov. 20, 2014 – Planning Commission
    • Nov. 24, 2014 – City Council

Study Meetings were held with PARC, Planning Commission & City Council throughout the planning process in 2015:

  • Updates presented at Study Meetings, which members of the public may attend, but no testimony is taken.
    • April 8, 2015 - PARC
    • April 9, 2015 - Planning Commission
    • May 11, 2015 - City Council (study)
    • September 9, 2015 - PARC
    • September 17, 2015 - Planning Commission
    • September 21, 2015 - City Council

2014 Focus Groups - Summaries from focus group meeings are available in the Document Library tab.

Document Library

Other Agencies / Links

This video describes the missing link of the Minnesota River Valley State Trail between the Bloomington Ferry Bridge and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Courtesy of The Friends of Minnesota Valley's Trail Advocacy Group.


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