2019 State Legacy Parks and Trails Program
Phase I Improvements to
He Mni Can – Barn Bluff Regional Park 

In May of 2018 the State legislature passed, and the Governor signed, the 2019 State Agency Appropriations Bill. The Bill approved the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission 2018 funding recommendations for 13 projects totaling $8,809,875 in grants to regionally designated parks and trails in Greater Minnesota. Red Wing’s grant application to the Parks and Trails Commission for $1,137,433 in funding for the Phase I Improvements to He Mn Can - Barn Bluff Regional Park was one of the 13 projects approved by the legislature.

The Legacy Grant programs were established following voter approval of a State Constitutional Amendment in 2008. The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment increased the state sales tax by three-eighths (3/8) of one (1%) percent beginning on July 1, 2009, continuing until 2034. The additional sales tax revenue is distributed into four Legacy funds: 33 percent to the clean water fund; 33 percent to the outdoor heritage fund; 19.75 percent to the arts and cultural heritage fund; and 14.25 percent to the parks and trails fund.

The Project

The Phase I project concentrates on safe and sustainable trails and designing and constructing a new park entry, access with more and organized parking. The only entry into the park and the park’s trail system suffers from a lack of organization and clarity. The trail system is the only way visitors are provided access throughout the park and directly influences how the park is experienced. Trail erosion and rogue trails are a definite problem at the park. Sustainable, safe, maintainable trails are a priority goals for the project. The approved Master Plan is providing the guidance for the planned improvements. Please see the representative figures from the Master Plan at the upper right: 3.7, Trails-Circulation & Access Plan; 3.4, East Overlook Improvement Area Plan; 3.2, Park Entry Improvement Area Plan; and, 3.16 Park Entry Trails.

Planning & Design

In late 2018, the City began working with professional consulting civil engineers and landscape designers (Stantec) to prepare the plans and specifications for a large part of the project. The process included a collaboration with the Prairie Island Indian Community to create interpretation elements within the new entry plaza that tell the story of the bluff as it relates to all members of the Red Wing community.  Construction of the new entry plaza and entry improvements began in July of 2020 and are expected to be complete by the end of May 2021.  A vast majority of the trail work on the bluff has been completed utilizing a contract project manager/designer (Bruce Blair) and contract labor provided by the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa. The trail restoration and stabilization portion of the project began in 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2021. Keep your eyes open for a ribbon-cutting and grand re-opening of He Mni Can - Barn Bluff Regional Park during the summer of 2021.


The budget for the Phase I Improvements to He Mni Can - Barn Bluff Regional Park is approximately $1.8 million. The funding sources include the state Legacy Park grant, $361,500 of City funding, funding donated from the Evelyn Sweasy Charitable Trust Foundation, and a donation by the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant.

Questions? Contact Project Manager Steve Kohn by email or by calling 651.385.3622.