DNR completes path to Cedar River
By Tim Ruzek
Canoeists and kayakers can hit the south-flowing waters of the Cedar River with more ease now.
A crew completed work Wednesday on a gravel parking lot and trail about two miles south of Austin on nearly 15 acres of flood-mitigation land near the Solafide Observatory.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received the land in early 2006 from Mower County, which bought out the flood-prone properties along the eastern bank of the river.
About six vehicles can fit into the lot in Austin Township, according to Craig Blommer, an area trails and waterways supervisor with the DNR in Rochester. A path already going to the river was shaped up and layered with a rocky surface.
DNR officials hope people start canoe trips in Austin and travel downriver to the site, or put a canoe in there, paddle south and get out near a bridge.
Mower County also has a few acres north of Austin near the Ramsey Dam in Lansing Township that has been proposed as another canoe-access site. The former Ramsey Golf Course clubhouse along with a home used to be on that land until being removed in recent years as part of flood mitigation.
The DNR might start work late this fall on a smaller parking lot and ramp above the Ramsey Dam for access to the Ramsey Mill Pond, Blommer said. An area for shoreline fishing is just south of the dam.