Theodore Wirth Regional Park
1339 Theodore Wirth Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55411
Project Area Aerial Maps [PDF]
Current Phase: Construction
Construction: July 2014-June 2019
The Quaking Bog parking lot at Theodore Wirth Regional Park closes tomorrow morning, Oct. 19, for brush removal as part of the Wirth Lessard Vegetation Management project. The closure is expected to last until mid-November. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board appreciates the public's patience while work is performed.
The vegetation management project within Theodore Wirth Regional Park (Wirth) shifts to the “Back 40,” the westernmost portion of the park (west of the par 3 golf course, containing the Luce Line trail, off-road cycling trails and areas near Twin Lake) as soon as this week, depending on weather.
Contractors continue to remove buckthorn and other invasive shrubs in South Wirth using chain saws or brush saws. Work is focused in areas northwest of Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, in project areas I and S on the project's aerial maps [PDF].
Please stay away from areas where work is being performed by power equipment.
The Outdoor Heritage Fund grant period is July 1, 2014-June 30, 2019. Within the grant period, proposed activities are as follows:
July 2014-June 2015
Woody species will be either mowed with a heavy brush mower on a skid steer/bobcat. In areas where vegetation is too large for the brush mower or too close to specimen trees, chainsaws or hand cutting will be used. Material will be chipped as it is cut.
This work will be done largely by contractors, though we will continue to work with volunteers of the Friends of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in the volunteer stewardship area around the outside of the garden and with youth workers near the Quaking Bog.
Additional contract work may be issued depending on funding and as vegetation responds to the management activity. Work on the shoreline of Twin Lake is also proposed as part of the grant activity.
Staff involved in this work includes a team of Environmental Operations staff, Planning staff and Communications staff.
July 1 2014
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Since this work is implementation of an existing master plan, additional community engagement is not planned. Informational updates will be posted when work occurs.
Opportunities to volunteer in monitoring activities and to assist with invasive species removal may be available. Please contact the project manager for more information.
Two open houses were held on August 6 and 18, 2015 at the Wirth Chalet in the Fireplace Room from 4-5 pm.
There are currently no meetings scheduled. Check back or enter your email address above to subscribe and get notified of new meetings.
The vegetation management work will result in a very different look for Theodore Wirth Regional Park. There will be less understory vegetation (brush and small trees) during the initial intensive mowing period of at least five years. Some desirable species will be temporarily cut/lost in the process. Long term, MPRB plans to incorporate regular brush mowing into native vegetation management techniques where appropriate. Brush mowing does not use undesirable chemical herbicides and is easier to schedule than prescribed burning. It also can be done with less skilled workforce and is a more common type of maintenance activity.
As per the Theodore Wirth Master Plan [PDF], prior to European settlement, Wirth Park was largely an oak savannah plant community. Savannahs have less than 50% tree cover, dominated by large branching native oaks with grass and flower mix on the ground. Up into the 1980s, the majority of the park was mowed extensively, maintaining a largely savannah-like feel. When mowing was reduced, woody invasive shrubs began to dominate the landscape and transition much of the park into an oak woodland.
The thick understory which is dominated by buckthorn is not a “natural” condition and does not provide good habitat for native species. Thinning this understory will provide many benefits, allowing native plants to return and benefitting native pollinators, birds, small mammals and amphibians.
Improving natural resources in the park was the second highest priority for the Community Advisory Committee who helped to guide the recently adopted Master Plan for the park.
Funding for this project was provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund to restore, protect, and enhance Minnesota's wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife.
The Outdoor Heritage Fund is providing a total of $600,000, which will be used for contracted work by experienced vegetation management contractors and materials and supplies. Matching funds will be provided through work by MPRB staff, Green Team summer youth workers and Conservation Corps youth workers.