in partnersh ip with W righ t and Carver Cou ntiesWRIGHTCOUNTYCrow River Regional Trailmaster planApril 20, 2017

missiontheof Three Rivers Park Districtis to promote environmental stewardship through recreation andeducation in a natural resources-based park system.Three Rivers Park District was established in 1957 after legislation was enacted in 1955 allowing forthe activation of park districts whose primary duties are “acquisition, development and maintenanceof large parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest and other reservations, and means for public access tohistoric sites and to lakes, rivers and streams and to other natural phenomena” (Minnesota StateStatutes, Chapter 398.07).There are more than 10 million annual visits to more than 26,500 acres of park reserves, regional parksand special-use areas in Hennepin and five adjoining counties and 140 miles of regional trails. Currentoutdoor-recreation activities in regional parks and trails include camping, hiking, cross-country anddownhill skiing, tubing, bicycling, in-line skating, horseback riding, nature interpretation, golfing,fishing and swimming. Three Rivers Park District also operates a natural resources managementprogram, which administers the restoration and perpetuation of both native wildlife and plants inorder to provide park and trail visitors opportunities for high-quality recreational experiences.Board of CommissionersPenny Steele, District 1John Gunyou, Chair, District 4TermTerm E x pires 12/ 3 1/ 20Corc oran, G reenf ield , H anover, I nd epend enc e,L ong L ak e, L oretto, Maple Plain, Med ic ineL ak e, Med ina, Minnetrista, Minnetonk aB eac h , Mou nd , N ew H ope, O rono ( prec inc ts1, 3 & 4 ) , Ply m ou th , Roc k f ord , Rogers,S pring Park , S t. B onif ac iu s, W ay z ata E x pires 12/ 3 1/ 18D eeph aven, E d ina, E x c elsior, G reenwood ,H opk ins ( all prec inc ts ex c ept 2) ,Minnetonk a, O rono ( prec inc t 2) ,Ric h f ield ( all prec inc ts ex c ept 6 & 9 ) ,S h orewood , Tonk a B ay , W ood landJennifer DeJournett, District 2John Gibbs, District 5TermTerm E x pires 12/ 3 1/ 18B rook ly n Park ( all prec inc ts ex c ept W 1- 0 &W 1- R) , Ch am plin, D ay ton, Maple G rove, O sseo E x pires 12/ 3 1/ 20B loom ington, Ch anh assen, E d en Prairie, F ortS nelling, Ric h f ield ( prec inc ts 6 & 9 )Daniel Freeman, Vice Chair, District 3Steven Antolak, Hennepin County AppointeeTermTerm E x pires 12/ 3 1/ 20B rook ly n Center, B rook ly n Park ( onlyprec inc ts W 1- 0 & W 1- R) , Cry stal, G old enV alley , H opk ins ( prec inc t 2) , Rob b insd ale,S t. Anth ony , S t. L ou is Park S erves at largeGene Kay, Hennepin County AppointeeTerm Cover PhotoCrow River Regional Trail route through Hanover, MNPh oto Cred it: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tiiTh ree Rivers Park D istric tE x pires 12/ 3 1/ 16 ( pend ing reappointm ent)E x pires 12/ 3 1/ 18S erves at large

AcknowledgementsThree Rivers Park District (Park District) gratefully acknowledges the staff, elected officials, community membersand other participants who contributed to the Crow River Regional Trail Master Plan. The Park District extendsa special thank you to the individuals listed below who provided guidance, time, questions, and critical insightthroughout the process.Agency RepresentativesAdvisory CommitteeWright CountyCity of Dayton Tina Goodroad, Planning & Development Director Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator Brad Harrington, Parks CoordinatorCity of Delano Phil Kern, City AdministratorCarver County Marty Walsh, Parks Director Nate Kabat, PlannerCity of Greenfield Brian Mastel, Parks CommissionHennepin County Bob Byers, P.E. Kelley Yemen, Bicycle & Pedestrian CoordinatorCity of Hanover Brian Hagan, City AdministratorCity of Independence Mark Kaltsas, City AdministratorMetropolitan Council Jan Youngquist, Planning AnalystCity of Minnetrista Nick Olson, Associate PlannerPark District Leadership Staff Boe R. Carlson, Superintendentand Secretary to the BoardCity of Otsego Thomas K. McDowell, Associate SuperintendentDivision of Recreation & Natural Resources Jonathan Vlaming, Associate SuperintendentDivision of Planning, Design & TechnologyCity of RockfordPark District Master Plan Staff Ann Rexine, Principal PlannerAlex Meyer, Landscape ArchitectDanny McCullough, Regional Trail System ManagerHeather Kuikka, Planning Administrative SpecialistKelly Grissman, Director of PlanningMaster Plan Consultant Ross Demant, Parks and Recreation Manager D. Daniel Licht, City Planning Consultant Dan Madsen, City Administrator Darcy Desens, Public Works and ParksCity of Rogers Mike Bauer, Recreation & Facilities Director John Siefert, Public Works SuperintendentCity of Watertown Shane Fineran, City AdministratorHoisington Koegler Group Inc. (HKgi)Crow River Regional Trail Master Plan, April 20, 2017iii

This page left intentionally blankivThree Rivers Park District

Executive SummaryThe proposed Crow River Regional Trail (CRRT) will expand recreational access to the Crow River - providingmultiple opportunities along its 32-mile corridor to ‘touch the river.’ The CRRT’s proposed route stretches fromthe Luce Line State Trail in Watertown Township to the West Mississippi River Regional Trail in Dayton, connectingCarver, Hennepin and Wright counties through the communities of Minnetrista, Independence, Franklin Township,Delano, Greenfield, Rockford, Rockford Township, Hanover, Rogers, and Otsego (Image I).The CRRT is unique, in that early stakeholdercoordination resulted in a route that crosses threemajor jurisdictions including; Hennepin County(Three Rivers Park District, Metropolitan Council),Carver County (Metropolitan Council), and WrightCounty (Greater Minnesota Regional Parks andTrails Commission).Image I: Crow River Regional Trail Context*S ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tFor purposes of this master plan’s submittal to theMetropolitan Council, only portions of the CRRTwithin Hennepin and Carver Counties are proposedto be included for their approval. Wright Countyintends to submit portions within their jurisdictionto the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks andTrails Commission for regional designation in theStatewide System Plan. However, to ensure acomplete planning process and successful outcome,one comprehensive master plan is proposed.The CRRT’s route aims to provide an exclusivelyoff-road trail experience, which in turn provides asafe and enjoyable recreation and non-motorizedtransportation option for users regardless ofability. The CRRT will expand recreational access topark and trail facilities, residential neighborhoods,commercial nodes, and Delano, Rockford andHanover downtowns - which in turn supportsbicycle and pedestrian mobility and economicdevelopment. Ancillary trail opportunities arecreated by the CRRT corridor for further connectionsto Watertown, Greenfield, and St. Michael.*All maps can be found full size in the Appendix C.Crow River Regional Trail Master Plan, April 20, 2017v

Image II: Crow River Regional Trail SegmentsCurrent planning for theSegment AS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tCRRT began in 2015,CommunityWatertown Township, Minnetrista,however the notion of aIndependence, Franklin Township,Delano, Greenfield, and Rockfordregional trail alignmentCounty Carver Hennepinalong the river dates Wrightback more than 10Trail StatusMix of existing and plannedyears. The preferredMileage11.7 milesCRRT route included inSegment Bthis master plan aims toCommunityRockford, Rockford Township & Hanoverprovide a hybrid routeCounty Wrightofearlierplanning,Trail StatusMix of existing and plannedconcedingtoallowMileage6.5 milessegments of trail withinadjacent road right-ofSegment Cway (Image II). ThisCommunityHanover and Rogerspreferred CRRT routeCounty Hennepinmeets the guidelinesTrail StatusMix of existing and plannedand preferences andMileage8.0 milesis the best and mostSegment DimplementablerouteCommunityRogersmoving forward. TheCounty HennepinproposedregionalTrail StatusMix of existing and plannedtrailwilldirectlyMileage2.9 milesconnectrecreationaldestinations such asSegment ECommunityRogers, Otsego and DaytonCrow-Hassan and LakeCounty HennepinRebecca Park Reserves, Wrightin addition to the LuceTrail StatusPlannedLine State Trail, andMileage3.5 milesDakota Rail and LakeIndependence Regional Trails. Some segments ofImage III: Total Acquisition and Development Coststhe proposed trail already exist, or are planned forS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tconstruction funding in the future.The total acquisition and development costs tocomplete proposed and upgrade existing CRRTsegments are summarized and separated by agencyto fully understand the participation percentages(Image III). As seen in the table, the majority ofCRRT’s development is dependent on the Park District(51 percent) and Wright County (48 percent) - withCarver County contributing about 1 percent of thetotal project cost. The estimated master planninglevel acquisition and construction cost estimate forthe unbuilt trail sections and upgrades to existingsegments is estimated at 37 million.When the 17-mile CRRT corridor within Park Districtjurisdiction is fully realized (not including portionsoutside of Park District jurisdiction), routinemaintenance operation costs including additionalstaffing are estimated to increase by 26,500/year (2016 dollars). Additional costs for trail surfacepreservation and rehabilitation (trail surface repairs,striping requirements, and pavement requirements)are anticipated to increase by 96,900/year assuminga 30-year pavement life. The combined annualmaintenance operation estimated cost for bothroute and trail surface preventative maintenance is 123,400/year (Image IV).viTh ree Rivers Park D istric tCosts by Agency*AgencyAcquisition CostsDevelopment CostsSubtotalsThree RiversPark District 1,239,264 17,671,670 18,910,834Wright County 1,094,544 16,482,594 17,577,138Carver County 0 463,130 463,130 2,333,808 34,617,394 36,951,102TOTALSImage IV: Park District Operations & Maintenance CostsS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tPark District Operations & Maintenance Costs (2016 dollars)Public SafetyNatural & CulturalResourcesMaintenanceN/AN/A 100,000One-timeexpense(equipmentor similar)Staffing No new FTE No new FTE 0.5 FTE Expansion ofVolunteer Patrol Seasonal/ContractStaffing Varies Seasonal/ContractStaffing VariesAnnualoperation &maintenancecostsBituminousTrailN/A 5,700/mile/year19 cents/visit/yr 5,000AggregateTrail 123,400* 4,100/mile/year16 cents/visit/yr* B ased u pon f u ll b u ild - ou t of 17 ad d itional Park D istric t m iles: 26 ,5 00 rou tine m aintenanc e( O peration B u d get) and 9 6 ,9 00 f or Pavem ent Managem ent Program ( Asset Managem ent Program )

Table of ContentsSection IPagePlanning Framework. 1 - 4Overview.1-2Jurisdictional Authority. 2 - 3Metropolitan Council.3Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. 3Three Rivers Park District. 4Section IIPlanning & Public Process. 5 - 11Precedent Planning Documents. 5Engagement Plan. 6 - 9Master Plan Review at Various Levels. 10 - 11Section IIIDemand Forecast. 13 - 19National Recreational Trends. 13 - 14Minnesota Recreational Trends. 14Twin Cities Regional Trends. 14Related Social Trends. 14 - 17Park District Trends.Section IV17 - 19Trail Route Description & Development Concept. 21 - 34Overview.21Route Evaluation. 22 - 23Natural Resources Overview. 24Corridor Segmentation. 24 - 34Section VDesign Guidance. 35 - 42Permitted Regional Trail Use. 35Access to All.36Design Guidelines.37 - 40Additional Trail Elements. 40 - 42Section VIOperations & Maintenance Plan.43 - 46General Operation. 43Public Safety. 43 - 44Maintenance. 44 - 45Section VIINatural and Cultural Resources.45 - 46Public Awareness.46Implementation, Estimated Costs, & Funding. 47 - 50Route Status. 47Acquisition and Development Costs. 48 - 50Operations and Maintenance Costs.Crow River Regional Trail Master Plan, April 20, 201750vii

MapsPage1 Crow River Regional Trail (CRRT) Hennepin County Context.12 CRRT Jurisdictional Authority.23 CRRT Three Rivers Park District Jurisdiction. 24 CRRT Wright County Jurisdiction. 25 CRRT Carver County Jurisdiction. 26 Metropolitan Council’s 2040 Regional Parks System Plan. 37 Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission Districts.38 CRRT Regional Trail Service Area.199 Segment B Route Analysis.2210 Greenfield Future Regional Trail Search Corridor.2211 Segment C Route Analysis.2312 Segment D and E Route Analysis.2313 CRRT Corridor Segmentation.2414 & 15 Segment A Corridor Overview and Details. 2516 & 17 Segment B Corridor Overview. 2718 & 19 Segment C Corridor Overview.2920 & 21 Segment D Corridor Overview.3122 & 23 Segment E Corridor Overview.3324 Comprehensive Wayfinding Plan. 41Tables & ChartsTable 1 2015 Regional Trail Visitation.17Table 2 Regional Trail Use by Season. 18Chart 1 Regional Trail Use by Activity.18Table 3 Wayfinding Signage Configurations. 41Table 4 Proposed Trailhead and River Touchpoint Locations & Elements.42Table 5 Routine Maintenance.44Table 6 Completed CRRT Segments.47Table 7 Total Acquisition and Development Costs.48Table 8 Development & Funding Plan.49Chart 2 Preliminary Segment Costs. 50Table 9 Park District Operations and Maintenance Costs.50AppendicesAppendix A Resolutions of Support. 51 - 76Appendix B Visitation Estimate Methodology. 77 - 78viiiAppendix C Graphic Maps.79 - 128Appendix D Minnesota Land Cover Classification System (MLCCS) Map.127 - 130Appendix E Property Acquisition Map.131 - 134Appendix F Cost Estimate.135 - 138Appendix G Public and Agency Comments.139 - 175Th ree Rivers Park D istric t

Section IThe Crow River bridge crossing near Rockford, MNImage Credit: Three Rivers Park DistrictPlanning FrameworkDefining the boundary between Wright and Hennepin counties, the Crow River remains an important naturalresource asset to the western Twin Cities. Named by the Ojibwe American Indians for the bird they called,“marauder of newly planted corn,” the Crow River extends through eight Minnesota counties. Comprised of theNorth, Middle and South forks, the Crow River is a tributary of the Mississippi River and drains a watershed ofapproximately 2,700 square miles. The North and South forks converge at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve - where theCrow River flows northeastward to the MississippiRiver at Dayton’s historic downtown.Map 1: Crow River Regional Trail Hennepin County ContextS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tOverviewWhen complete, the 32-mile Crow River RegionalTrail (CRRT) will fill a gap in both the Twin Citiesmetro and Greater Minnesota park and trail systemswith a safe, accessible and enjoyable recreationand alternative transportation option. The CRRTwill expand recreational access to park and trailfacilities, residential neighborhoods, commercialnodes and several exurban downtown communities- which in turn supports bicycle and pedestrianmobility and economic development.The CRRT’s principle goals are to provide a trailroute that gives users multiple opportunities toexperience the Crow River and connect to localdestinations. Since this region has significantnumber of private properties abutting the CrowRiver, a trail route that achieved an acceptablelevel of river proximity - coupled with capitalizationof river touchpoints - provided the route’s primaryplanning framework.The 32-mile CRRT route travels from the LuceLine State Trail to the planned West MississippiRiver Regional Trail, through the communities ofWatertown Township, Minnetrista, Independence,Franklin Township, Delano, Greenfield, Rockford,Rockford Township, Hanover, Rogers, Otsego andDayton (Map 1*).*All maps can be found full size in the Appendix C.Crow River Regional Trail Master Plan, April 20, 20171

The proposed regional trail will directly connectrecreational destinations such as Lake Rebecca andCrow-Hassan Park Reserves, in addition to the LuceLine State Trail, and the planned Sarah Creek, RushCreek and West Mississippi River Regional Trails. Inaddition, the CRRT will connect to local recreationpoints-of-interest including Riverside and CentralParks in Rockford and Delano.Map 2: CRRT Jurisdictional AuthorityS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tWhen fully realized, CCRT users will be able to continueeast on the Luce Line State Trail to reach Baker ParkReserve via the Baker/Carver or Lake IndependenceRegional Trail - and further connections can be madeto the Medicine Lake Regional Trail and eventually theMinneapolis Grand Rounds. By traveling west on theLuce Line State Trail, users can reach the communitiesof Watertown, Hutchinson, and Winsted.Portions of the CRRT currently exist. Specifically,a 10.9 mile stretch at the southern end travelsthrough Independence, Franklin Township, Delanoand connects to Lake Rebecca Park Reserve. Anothersmall 1.3 mile stretch exists from Hanover along thesouthern edge of Crow Hassan Park Reserve. Thesesegments will be accepted as-is with detailed plansfor improvements and new construction outlined inSection VII.Jurisdictional AuthorityThe CRRT is unique, in that early stakeholdercoordination resulted in a route that crosses threemajor geographic boundaries and subsequently threepark implementing agency jurisdictions including;Hennepin County (Three Rivers Park District, Metropolitan Council), Carver County (Metropolitan Council), andWright County (Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission) (Map 2). For purposes of this masterplan’s submittal to the Metropolitan Council, only portions of the CRRT within Hennepin and Carver Countiesare proposed to be included for their approval (Maps 3 and 4). Wright County intends to submit portions withintheir jurisdiction to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission for regional designation in theMap 3: Park District JurisdictionMap 4: Carver Cnty JurisdictionMap 5: Wright Cnty JurisdictionS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric tS ou rc e: Th ree Rivers Park D istric t2Th ree Rivers Park D istric t

Statewide System Plan (Map 5). This jurisdictional discussion is required during the planning framework process,however the intent of the entire thirty-two mile CRRT corridor is to provide a seamless user experience. It is theexpectation that the CRRT user will unknowingly weave between jurisdictions, focusing instead on the Crow Rivervistas, adjacent landscapes and connections to local destinations.Metropolitan CouncilThe Twin Cities’ nationally renowned Metropolitan Regional Parks Systemsignificantly contributes to the area’s high quality of life. Establishinggreen space for recreation and resource protection enhances theregion’s livability and economic strength. The Metropolitan RegionalParks System, includes 62 regional parks, park reserves, and specialrecreation features - plus 340 miles of regional trail open to the public.Currently, there are 54,286 acres of protected land open for publicuse, with planned acquisition of an additional 70,000 parkland acresand 760 regional trail miles over the next 25 years to meet the region’sgrowth expectations (Map 6). The Metropolitan Regional Parks Systemis made up of 10 park implementing agencies consisting of six countypark departments, three city park departments, and the Park District.The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency thatoversees and provides partial funding of the acquisition, development,and operation of the Metropolitan Regional Parks System. TheMetropolitan Council and park implementing agencies also developregional park policies to protect the region’s water quality; promotebest management practices; and help integrate the parks system withMap 6: 2040 Regional Parks System Planhousing, transportation, and other regional priorities. The MetropolitanS ou rc e: Metropolitan Cou nc ilCouncil provides guidance in the development of regional park andtrail master plans. The CRRT Master Plan reflects that guidance.Each regional park or trail must have a master plan approved by the Metropolitan Council prior to receivingMetropolitan Council funding. The master plan must address boundaries and acquisition, demand, developmentconcept, implementation schedule, development and operational costs, and natural resources. Public input isencouraged throughout the master planning process. The Metropolitan Council’s planning requirements helpensure consistency between the implementing agencies’ and their own regional plans. The CRRT search corridor isidentified in Metropolitan Council’s 2040 Regional Parks System Plan.Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails CommissionEstablished in 2013, the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and TrailsCommission (Greater Minnesota) was created to undertake system planningand provide recommendations to the legislature for grants funded by theparks and trails fund to counties and cities outside the Twin Cities sevencounty metro-area jurisdiction for parks and trails of regional significance(Map 7). Prior to the establishment of the commission, Greater Minnesotadid not have an established history of comprehensive planning for regionalparks and trails.The Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee (LAC) was created as apart of the implementation of the 25-year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan.The Legacy Plan establishes the basic structure and guidelines both forthe creation of Greater Minnesota and for the Regional System Plan it isresponsible for creating. As defined in Greater Minnesota’s Strategic Plan(and guided by the Parks & Trails Legacy Plan), Greater Minnesota evaluates,ranks, and determines funding recommendations for regionally-significantprojects of highest merit. All regional park and trail projects flow throughGreater Minnesota’s evaluation process to ensure consistency with theMap 7: Greater Minnesota Regionalprotocol and criteria defined under the Strategic Plan. The vetting processParks & Trails Commission Districtsdefined and implemented by Greater Minnesota through the Strategic PlanS ou rc e: G MRPTCis the only route to Legacy or other funding sources as related to regionalparks and trails in Greater Minnesota. Greater Minnesota is responsible for ensuring that the physical systemplan that emerges over time only reflects parks and trails that are well-vetted and formally recognized as beingregionally-significant and essential to meeting regional needs. The CRRT route is proposed in District 4.Crow River Regional Trail Master Plan, April 20, 20173

Three Rivers Park DistrictThe Park District is an independent, special park district charged with theresponsibilities of acquisition, development, and maintenance of regionalpark reserves, parks, special recreation features, and trails for thebenefit and use of the citizens of suburban Hennepin County, the sevencounty Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the State of Minnesota. Sinceits inception, the Park District has grown to serve more than 11 millionannual visitors through access to 26,500 acres of park reserves, regionalparks, special recreation features, and 140 miles of regional trails. ThePark District works cooperatively with local communities, counties, publicagencies, the Metropolitan Council, and the State Legislature.The Park District’s mission is to promote environmental stewardshipthrough recreation and education in a natural resources-based parksystem. The Park District was established in 1957 by the Minnesota StateLegislature when prominent members of the community promoted thebenefits of parks in the outlying areas of Hennepin County.Regional Trail Planning GuidelinesThe Park District manages its lands under four categories of regionalopen space: regional park reserves, regional parks, regional specialrecreation features, and regional trail corridors.Regional trail corridors, such as the CRRT are intended to providerecreational travel along linear pathways that transcend multiplejurisdictions and may or may not also serve a transportation component.In addition, regional trails follow criteria established by the MetropolitanCouncil and Park District:Regional trail corridors are carefully selected to follow natural or culturallinear features with scenic appeal and/or historical, architectural anddevelopmental interest, connect people with places, help create asense of place amongst the greater community, intersect with localtrail, sidewalk, and bicycle networks, provide access to mass transit,and link components of the regional park system together. Regional trails may function as a destination or linking regionaltrail or both: Destination reg

Crow River Regional Trail Master Plan, April 20, 2017 v T he propose Cro River Reion rai CRRT i expan recreation ccess to the Cro River proviin ultiple opportunities on its 2-mie corridor to touc the river. The RRT's propose route stretches ro the uce ine tate rai in aterton onship to the est ississippi River eion Trai in yton connectin