|A pretty path on a Sunday morning in Kaplan's Woods|
In the early 1960's, Interstate 35W was constructed nearby. A good portion of Kaplan's Woods State Park was swallowed up by the highway. The state decided that, at only 154 remaining acres, it was too small to maintain as a State Park. It was transferred to the City of Owatonna in 1963, and it remains a City Park to this day.
|Kaplan's Woods lives on, surrounded by 35W, US hwy 14, and the streets of Owatonna|
The loss of Kaplan's Woods State Park was actually a catalyst for the creation of Rice Lake State Park. The townspeople of Owatonna also wanted a place to swim - so they turned their eyes towards Rice Lake. Rice Lake State Park was born with the intent of dredging the shallow lake to make a new swimming pool for folks like my dad and his brothers. Unfortunately for them, the dreams of dredging Rice Lake never came true. Instead of it being a swimming pool for the people of Owatonna, it became a great place for migrating birds to stop in the spring and the fall. Can't say I'm sad the swimming pool thing didn't work out.
|A bit o' prairie|
Although I can't add this hike to the State Park list, it deserves mention. Times change, the landscape changes. We lose one park, we gain another. The state of Minnesota has added new parks over the years - including one that is too new for a Hiking Club Trail. It's the circle of life!
Total miles hiked today: (this park) 2.5
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 124.9
Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Thunderdog - n/a; Elly - 0
Total ticks (in 2012): 48