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DNR completes path to Cedar River

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

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.

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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.

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