Not that long ago, a portion of Beaver Falls Park in Renville County was nothing more than woods.
That area has changed significantly in recent years, as a number of people have been working to create a new camping area for the public. Some of those working on that project have come from communities across Minnesota through a program known as the Conservation Corps of Iowa and Minnesota.
This past week, a group of eight Conservation Corps members completed their tasks at the Beaver Falls park site, as they worked on tasks from landscaping and making steps to improving the restroom facilities.
The group arrived in the area June 19 and got to work helping wherever they could to get the area ready for visitors.
According to Andy Lang, park supervisor, the group’s efforts were made possible through funds from the Out-door Heritage Fund, with legacy dollars provided through sales tax dollars paid in Minnesota.
Lang said Conservation Corps groups have been working in Renville County parks for the past two years, and for the second year a group was selected to do tasks in Beaver Falls.
“We’ve been here 10 days,” said Darian Lightfoot, who is one of the co-leaders of the Conservation Corps team who finished up their time in the area this past Tuesday. “We have been working each day from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., and have done everything from creating a trail to landscaping.”
Lang said the work the group has been doing is part of the bigger picture in the park, as the vision of creating a rustic camping area continues at Beaver Falls.
The area includes a shelter and restroom facilities, said Lang, adding there is no electricity. There are also no designated campsites in the area, and the camping area is on a first come, first served basis. There are no registrations, but those who come are asked to put $12 into the drop box at the entrance to the area.
Lang said the rustic area has a broad appeal with the public, and that style of camping is becoming more popular nationwide.
The camping site is now open to the public, said Lang, adding the process of creating the site is ongoing. There are plans to seed the entire area with native prairie grasses to give those attending an idea of what the county would have looked like before people arrived.
Lang said the Conserva-tion Corps has had a good relationship with the county, adding work has also been done at Skalbekken Park.
The group came from across the state as far away as Hibbing and the metro area, and many of them said they plan to come back out to see the progress as the park is completed.
Page 2 of 2 - “Andy has been awesome,” said Lightfoot, adding the entire area has made the group feel very welcome during their visit.