Tag Archives: Mill Towns Trail

Two years later and the geese are still handing the City of Northfield its ass

Exactly one year ago yesterday, I blogged about the lack of progress in the City’s effort to control the problem of Canada geese shitting in Ames Park, Riverside Park, Babcock Park, and Sesquicentennial Plaza.  I suggested a solution (Border Collies), other suggestions emerged in the discussion thread, and the Northfield News drew attention to the problem with an article, editorial, and letters to the editor.

Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon
But as you can see from these photos of Riverside Park this week, the problem is worse than ever. Are condo owners at Village on the Cannon pissed? Not only are the geese spoiling their ‘front yard’ and adjacent walking trails, they are likely hurting the sales of condos. Ironically, on their association’s home page, they feature a photo of the geese on the Cannon River. Oy.

Geese shit in Ames Park Canada geese in Babcock Park Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza
It’s just as bad in Ames Park and in and around the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge in Babcock Park. It’s especially bad on Sesquicentennial Legacy Plaza. I wonder if Ray ‘Jake’ Jacobson knows what the geese are doing to the granite pavers surrounding his ‘Harvest’ sculpture?

I waved Northfield Park and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) chair Nathan Knutson over to my corner office at GBM yesterday and told him I had just taken photos of the problem. He said the issue came up at the PRAB retreat recently and that they were considering what to do.  I don’t see anything about it their recent minutes and agendas but I hope this blog post will help focus attention on the problem.

Bike lanes painted on the east side; car parking restricted to one side

Union St at 5th, facing north Union St at 4th, facing south 4th St. near Union, facing west 4th St. near Nevada, facing west
Bike lanes have been painted on the new pavement on both sides of Union St. between 4th and 5th and on both sides of 4th St. between Union and Nevada. 

5th St. near Union, facing west 5th St. at Washington, facing west 
The segment on 5th between Union and Washington (paved last year) does not yet have lanes.  5th St’s bike lanes extend to Water St. where they connect to the Riverside Park trail extension that was installed last year… and which connects to the Mill Towns Trail via the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge.

Are there other places in Northfield with bike lanes in which car parking has been restricted to only one side of the street?

East Cannon River Trail now under construction. Will it be paved?

Construction of East Cannon River Trail in Northfield Construction of East Cannon River Trail in Northfield Construction of East Cannon River Trail in NorthfieldEast Cannon River Trail map
As the Babcock Park Lift Station & Interceptor Sewer Project nears completion, construction of the East Cannon River Trail (part of the Greenway Corridor) between Babcock Park and Dundas has begun.  I took the above photos behind the Northfield Ice Arena and Northfield Athletic Club on Friday.

P. 52 of the March 15 City Council packet has background  info:

Northfield applied for funding for the construction of a 3-mile trail from Babcock Park to Dundas through the 2009 Trail Legacy program and was granted $150,000 of the $500,000 requested. In addition the Rotary committed $100,000 to development of the trail along with a commitment from Dundas for $7,000. Due to the budget shortfall, cuts were made to the project including eliminating part of the proposed connecting trail section and paving the trail using crushed rock for the trail surface rather than bituminous as proposed.

Subsequently the City submitted two applications for the 2010 Legacy Grants to help fund the portions of the project that were eliminated. The City received $45,000 for construction of the connecting spur to Honeylocust. The City was not successful funding the paving portion of the project.

Completion of the paving portion of the trail project would provide the community with a few benefits. It would open the trail up to more user types such as inline skaters, skate skiers and those with mobility challenges. Paving would also provide a more stable and sustainable surface, holding up better in an area that is prone to flooding from time to time.

I’m not sure what’s happened since the March 15 meeting. Anyone have details on whether the trail will be paved this year? I checked the Mill Towns Trail news page and the Northfield Rotary news page, but alas, nothing.

Fluff lives


In the annals of LoGro wildlife fluff (beaver, ducks, owls, etc  ), I can now add a snapping turtle to my collection. I took these photos last night on the Mill Towns Trail near Sechlar Park.

FYI, I’m on a jury for a civil trial in federal court in St. Paul. Day 4. Great experience so far. Judge, attorneys, court staff all excellent. No wifi but I’m able to use my new G2 Google phone with the WordPress app to post this.

Photo album: Riverside Trail dedication

The new trail segment connecting downtown Northfield to the Mill Towns Trail through Riverside Park was dedicated to Maggie Lee this morning.

Rob Hardy has a good write-up of the ceremony with a slideshow of his dozen photos in a Northfield.org blog post. Corey Butler has an album of 18 photos on the Northfield News site.

See my album of 36 photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:

Let’s use a Border Collie to solve the geese problem now

shoreline, Ames ParkI optimistically blogged about the Canada geese (AKA ‘sky carp’ or ‘flying rats’) in Ames Park last December: The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working.

And then in April, I took this photo of workers removing the fencing along the west side of the Cannon River in Ames Park. I sent this email to City Engineer Katy Gehler-Hess:

Hi Katy, I see the fencing along the Cannon River downtown was removed this morning. The plantings didn’t grow? What’s plan B??

I never got a reply but she evidently forwarded my email to Street/Park Supervisor T.J. Heinricy who wrote:

The fence in Ames park was removed per the recommendation of Bonestroo Inc.  They were the contractor hired to do the install.  I asked them this Spring about the fence removal.  The gentleman that did the install did a very detailed inspection.  The planting’s are doing just fine and are thriving.  That was their assessment.

Alas, the problem is now worse than ever.

geese in Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park
I took these photos last night.  The geese use the canoe ramps and the bank next to the Ames Mill fence that’s not city property to enter and exit the river. And the plantings are NOT thriving everywhere as Bonestroo contended. There are many spots that look like this:

shoreline, Ames Park

Nfld News:

City Administrator Joel Walinski said it will take time to see the full effect of the new shoreline, which looks much better than it did two years ago, he said.

I’m extremely doubtful that the current solution will work in two years.  The Nfld News editorial mentioned using dogs, specifically Border Collies. Lots of businesses doing this (example, here) and even the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese recommends using Border Collies:

Border Collies (BC) are specially trained herding dogs that are extremely effective for keeping geese out of areas where they are considered a problem.  Border collies are the method of choice for large open areas such as golf courses, airports, parks, school ground recreation fields, corporate parks, etc.

Results are immediate. Usually requires aggressive initial use (several times a day for 1-2 weeks) until geese get tired of being hassled and stay away. While the wolf-like gaze of Border Collies is incredibly frightening to geese, these dogs will not harm them or children.

Tearing down the Ames Mill dam might solve the problem but that project appears to be stalled.

So why not get/rent a Border Collie and solve the problem NOW, before DJJD?  Couldn’t the Park & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) could take the lead on this initiative?

Update 7/16 8:30 am:  Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail between Riverside Park and Babcock Park:

Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail

Update 7/18 7:15 am: Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza:

Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza

Riverside Trail Extension complete; dedication set for July 10

Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension
Paving and landscaping on the Riverside Trail Extension between 5th St. and Riverside Park was completed this week.

Sean Simonson, City of Northfield’s Engineering Tech Coordinator, wrote in last week’s Friday Memo that the “trail dedication ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 10th.”

The Riverside Trail Extension connects downtown with the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge over the Cannon River at Hwy 3 and then on to the Mill Towns Trail.

The $245,000 to construct the trail came from the City’s Master Development District Fund.

Update 7/12: I’ve added these two photos taken on 6/27 that show the signs urging people to walk their bikes around the corner.

Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension