Former farm cleanup underway at future William O’Brien addition

February 1, 2023

Cleaning up a century-old farm takes time. They have a tendency to collect more than just memories. Stuff abounds, from the long-forgotten broken tractors to the more recent refrigerators–not to mention personal items in the house.

So, when Parks & Trails Council (P&TC) purchased a former farm within William O’Brien State Park, and the twelve-month timeframe for the previous owner to clean up the land proved insufficient, it was not entirely surprising. We have now agreed to extend the timeframe for the cleanup through June 30 of this year.

Even with this extension, the land remains in P&TC’s ownership as we hold it in trust for the park. P&TC also retains a portion of the purchase payment until the cleanup is complete. Any additional cleanup needed after June 30 will be paid for with the retained funds.
The property contains a small house, garage, barns, sheds, and other storage structures; most are decrepit and unstable. We inquired with local vendors to collect wood for the reclaimed wood market, but there was no interest.
We are now talking with the local fire department about using some of the buildings for a training drill, which could provide invaluable experience for the firefighters.

Meanwhile, we are working closely with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to ensure the land will be conveyed to the park sometime after the cleanup is finished. Potentially, this could be in the summer of 2023.

William O'Brien Project Page