Parks & Trails Council’s influence on the development of William O’Brien State Park is undeniable. Starting in the early 1970s, while a major housing developer was eyeing lands in the area, P&TC spearheaded a major park expansion. It was a race to secure lands. Adding to the challenge, the Minnesota Legislature was debating whether the expansion should even be authorized. This meant P&TC was going out on a limb to buy lands that the park could potentially be prohibited from owning, but we couldn’t bear the thought of losing this land to developers, so we took the risk.
Over the next couple years, P&TC bought the bulk of the land within the expansion area. Meanwhile, P&TC leadership worked with legislators to pass the park boundary bill and transferred the lands to the park by 1973.
Bit by bit, P&TC has been acquiring the remaining private lands within this park, including our latest acquisition of 60 acres from Myron Lindgren last December (see map).
Lindgren was born and raised on a farm that encompassed these 60 acres plus lands to the north and south that he previously sold to become part of the park. This last parcel held his homesite.
It’s a bittersweet moment for him, as this sale also brings a move for him away from his beloved home of 80 plus years. But his heart lies in the countryside and this area was becoming unrecognizably urban in Lindgren’s assessment, with housing developments replacing family farms. “It’s a hard thing to know when to leave,” he explained.