4955 W Lake Nokomis Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Current Phase: Pre-Design
Natural Resources within Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park include all aspects of implementing and maintaining the landscape, vegetation, habitat, and water body improvements within the park. The needs assessment process conducted as part of the 2015 Master Plan identified a vision for improving the natural setting and quality of the park.
(General timeframe is approximate and is subject to change or to modifications)
In 2015 the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan was developed. The purpose of the 2015 Master Plan was to provide a long-term vision for improvements to park facilities, recreation, landscape, trails, and shorelines. The Master Plan studied the existing conditions of the park, assessed community needs in relation to park use, and proposed specific improvement projects. This was envisioned as a 25-year plan, with implementation in three broad timeframes: Short-term (up to 6 years), Medium-term (6-12 years), and Long-term (12 or more years). The proposed shoreline enhancements are considered one of identified short term improvements within this Regional Park.
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Funding provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund will go towards improving aquatic habitat in Lake Nokomis through integrated lake management. The proposed project area extends along approximately 4,800 linear feet of shoreline, which constitutes the majority of the Lake Nokomis shoreline that has been assumed not to have WPA stone walls or is currently used as beach. The project will seek to enhance a significant portion of the lakes shoreline by re-grading steep and undercut banks to provide a more gradual land-to-water transition and assist in mitigating seasonal flooding. In addition, proposed native plantings will help guard against erosion while increasing the amount of naturalized landscape within the park. Separate funding, provided from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, is for the study and removal of invasive carp within the Lake Nokomis Subwatershed.
Beginning in 1900, the Minneapolis Park Board moved to acquire property around Lake Amelia, and in 1908 secured 409 acres, including nearly 300 acres of water. In 1910, Lake Amelia’s name was officially changed to Lake Nokomis, in honor of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “Song of Hiawatha” that made Minnehaha Falls famous (Nokomis was Hiawatha’s grandmother, and the word means “my grandmother” in Ojibwe). That same year, park superintendent Theodore Wirth presented his plan for improving Lake Nokomis. One of the most ambitious land-altering schemes in the history of Minneapolis parks, Wirth’s plan involved a large amount of dredging and grading to reshape the lake and surrounding parkland. His dramatic design reduced open water from 300 acres to 200 acres and increased the lake’s average depth and, in 1914 work began to reshape Lake Nokomis. To the north, Lake Hiawatha was acquired 7 years later, and the first plan for the combined Lake Nokomis and Lake Hiawatha Park was created by Theodore Wirth in 1934.
The 1934 Plan remained the guiding scheme outlining improvements for the two-lake park, until the recent 2015 Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan was developed. The purpose of the 2015 Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan was to provide a long-term vision for improvements to park facilities, recreation, landscape, trails, and shorelines. The Master Plan studied the existing conditions of the park, assessed community needs in relation to park use, and proposed specific improvement projects.
Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park is loved for its natural amenities. Recent park improvements have led to the creation of larger stormwater wetlands and additional wildlife habitat, which has contributed to the popularity of birding in the park. Nokomis-Hiawatha’s well-developed network of trails offers visitors prime access to the park’s lakes, creek, and wetlands, and has made passive modes of recreation like walking, running, and cycling some of the most popular ways to experience the park. A significant public process informed development of the 2015 Master Plan. The plans and recommendations underwent thorough review by public participants, an appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC), and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), and were adopted by the Metropolitan Council.
Funding for this project, in the amount of $444,000, was provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund to restore, protect, and enhance Minnesota's wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife.