Keller Lake trail and boardwalk open to public

Ramsey County taking extra precautions to protect eagle nest

With the summer season in full swing, Ramsey County residents and visitors alike can take their fun outdoors, and make their way onto the new Keller Regional Park trail and boardwalk in Maplewood, both of which opened up Friday, June 13 to the public.

The newly constructed walkway is just over a week old, and so far, patrons testing it out have deemed it a success.

“We actually had somebody contact us about what contractor we used, because they really liked it,” said Ramsey County spokesperson Allison Winters. “We don’t necessarily have (a formalized way to collect) direct feedback, but so far we’ve heard a lot of good things.”

While the boardwalk trail is open to the public, there will still be some minor fix-ups going on over the next month. The county will work on restoring the turf and cleaning up rail edges. Winters said that the work will mostly take place during regular business hours, but doesn’t expect visitors to find it intrusive as they stroll along Keller Lake.

“It’s just some really minor stuff; the people there shouldn’t notice it,” she said.

One of the trail’s biggest attractions is the bald eagle nest atop a large tree near Highway 36, just west of the Highway 61 exit. There is now a set of rules and regulations in place, with the goal of keeping the eagles and eaglets undisturbed, and pedestrians safe.

To start, the county received an eagle disturbance permit for the boardwalk, which goes near the nest. The county will be monitoring the success of the nest, and gather information to determine the impact the trail and its patrons have on the eagles’ well being. The data will be forwarded to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.

The county also avoided all constructions around the nest during February and March - key months in the eagle nesting process. A protective railing has also been installed to prevent pedestrians from attempting to go near the tree that holds the nest. And the trail will not be plowed, so access will be restricted during the winter nesting months.

“We’ve taken a lot of precautions to make sure that the eagles’ nest won’t be disturbed,” Winters said, after conferring with Ramsey County natural resources manager Michael Goodnature. “Along with the permit that we put together, we also studied the eagles’ tolerance levels to make sure they’re OK around people”

Construction began on the Keller trail and boardwalk project last September from Lower Keller to Spoon Lake. The new trail runs from the Highway 61 bridge over Keller Creek at Lower Keller up to and under the new Highway 36 bridge. It then connects to the trailhead on the east side of Spoon Lake.

You can reach Tim Faklis at 651-748-7814, at tfaklis@lillienews.com, or on Twitter @tfaklisnews.


Things to do along the boardwalk

photos by Linda Baumeister/Review
Keller and Spoon Lakes are popular fishing spots.

Getting closer to nature along the boardwalk, one can spot uncommon birds, such as a black-crowned night heron, and turtles.

 

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