Citizen advisory committee appointed to explore future of Fort Ridgely State Park
DNR News Release
The Department of Natural Resources has appointed 15 people to a citizen advisory committee that will make recommendations about how to expand statewide interest in Fort Ridgely State Park near Fairfax in southern Minnesota after its golf course closes on Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day.
The committee will meet regularly through September, and it will make recommendations to the DNR by October. There will be opportunities for public comment during this time as well.
“We’re ready to explore new ideas about how to revitalize this special and historically significant park with the committee members and the public,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “The advisory committee process allows for a meaningful exploration of the unique ecological, cultural, and recreational values of the park, and we are eager to hear the committee’s recommendations to the department.”
Committee members are County Commissioner Bruce Beatty, County Commissioner Marie Dranttel, Bix Baker, Ron Bolduan, Naomi Evenson, Lisa Filter, Rhonda Fjeldberg, Dennis Hoffbeck, Loran Kaardal, Ben Leonard, Sarah Maass, David Runck, Jeff Sieve, Cheyanne St. John and Leonard Wabasha.
The old fort site, with five acres of land, was purchased by the state of Minnesota in 1896 to create a memorial to the participants of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War at Fort Ridgely. When an additional 148 acres were purchased in 1911, the site was designated as a state park. Today’s park visitors can snowshoe and snowmobile during the winter months or camp, fish, and horseback ride the rest of the year. In addition, they can visit an interpretive center with exhibits and information about the people and events surrounding Fort Ridgely during the 1850s and 1860s.
To learn more about Fort Ridgely State Park planning, visit