Construction begins on new horse trail bridge at Fort Ridgely State Park

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Equestrian enthusiasts will soon be able to enjoy the horse trails to their fullest at Fort Ridgely State Park in Fairfax, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Contractors arrived last week to begin construction of a new bridge across Fort Ridgely Creek, which is expected to be completed by mid-November.

Since the old bridge fell victim to flooding in June 2014, horse riders have had to make do with a temporary bridge that they used when the creek was low.

“The low-water bridge was not an ideal solution,” said Kathy Dummer, DNR southern region manager for the Parks and Trails Division. “Heavy rains would swamp the low-water bridge, and not all riders were comfortable taking their horses through water that could be several feet deep at times.”

The new structure will have a weight limit of 15 tons, which will allow heavy equipment and emergency vehicles to safely cross Fort Ridgely Creek.

“This will allow more trail projects and restoration to be completed in the future,” said Assistant Park Manager Joanne Svendsen. “We couldn’t get our heavy equipment back there with the old bridge, but this can help us do our job easier north of the creek and ultimately help us give our park visitors a better experience.”

Svendsen said she and the rest of the staff at the park appreciate visitors’ understanding through this process. “The horse trails and accompanying campsites are a unique attraction among state parks in this region,” Svendsen said, “and we’re happy they can soon be used to their fullest again.”

In the meantime, contractors put in place a low-water bridge of their own for their equipment. That bridge, and the rest of the trail north of Fort Ridgely Creek, will remain closed to park visitors for the duration of the project.

Funding was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance program.

For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/fortridgely or call 507-426-7840.

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