Lake of the Isles Park is part of the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which averages 5.5 million visitors per year. People of all ages visit the park from adjoining neighborhoods, the metropolitan region, across the state and around the world to enjoy Isles’ picturesque beauty. They walk, run, bike, throw a Frisbee, picnic, sit on a bench, or spread out a blanket. Canoeing is also very popular in the summer as is ice skating in the winter. A wedding ceremony along the shore of Lake of the Isles will capture the serenity of the occasion while just blocks from the action of the Uptown area. An off-leash dog park is located on the south end of the park. The entire 2.86 miles of shoreline are publicly owned and accessible to all park enthusiasts.
Lake of the Isles is an engineered lake, created in the early part of the 20th Century. The Park Board dredged what was originally a shallow lake and marsh complex and used the dredged material to create parkland and ultimately, a stately and picturesque park.
In 2001, the Park Board began construction of a major project to improve Isles’ water quality, eroding shorelines and damaged recreation areas. The construction project will lessen the impact of the regional watershed that drains into the 120-acre Lake of the Isles and will reconstruct parkland damaged by the disastrous 1997 flood and the devastating 1998 windstorm.
In developing the Lake of the Isles Park renovation plan, the challenge has been to create a sustainable as well as usable park space. Shoreline stabilization, wetland enhancement and restoration, path reconstruction, upland plant restoration, and the raising of passive recreation areas are strategies that have been and are being implemented to achieve the renovation goals, namely to balance aesthetics and the park’s historical integrity with the recreational needs of park users and the sustainability of a fragile environment.
Historical Profile: More information about this and other parks is included in Parks, Lakes, Trails and So Much More, a richly detailed account of the histories of Minneapolis’ renown recreational system.