The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites anyone with an interest in Sibley State Park to attend an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 13, to review a new draft management plan. It will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the park’s trail center, 800 Sibley Park Road NE, New London.

DNR staff will give a short presentation about the draft plan at 6 p.m., and then there will be opportunities for informal discussions. DNR staff and members of the citizen advisory committee will be available to discuss the draft plan and to answer questions about possible changes.

Draft recommendations involve changes to the park’s trail network, including consolidation of some trails, the addition of new horse trails and the development of a new hiking trail in the largely undeveloped western section of the park. Other recommendations include connecting the Glacial Lakes State Trail to and through the park, improvements to the beach area and its historic resources, the addition of new camper cabins, and a potential campground expansion. Options for managing and restoring the park’s oak savanna, forest and prairie ecosystems are important elements in the plan.

Established in 1919, Sibley State Park was mostly developed in the 1930s by the Veterans Conservation Corps. Today it is one of the largest (more than 2,500 acres) and most popular (250,000 annual visits) parks in west-central Minnesota. Mount Tom – one of the highest points within a 50-mile radius – offers unparalleled views of the forests, farmland, prairie knolls and lakes that surround it. Summer visitors can swim, boat and fish at Lake Andrew. A canoe route offers portage and canoe options on Henschien Lake and Swan Lake. The park also features several campgrounds, a modern group center, horseback camps, a picnic area and year-round interpretive programs.

The draft master plan is available online for review online (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/parks/sibley.html).

Those unable to review and comment on the draft management plan at the open house are welcome to submit comments by phone or email through Friday, Nov. 30.

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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