DNR says state park will close next month before returning to Upper Sioux Community

State officials are preparing to close a Minnesota park next month as part of the process to transfer the land back to the descendants of those who originally called it home.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported the plan to return Upper Sioux Agency State Park to the Dakota people back in September. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said it will close the park to the public on Feb. 16 so that staff can remove park infrastructure before the transfer, which the DNR says is expected to happen in mid-March.

The Minnesota Legislature directed the state to return the land to the Upper Sioux Community last year and included funding for an “alternative recreational opportunity” or opportunities. The DNR got public input on potential outdoor recreation investments over the summer and fall and is still evaluating those ideas, the agency says.

“We look forward to returning this land to the Upper Sioux Community, as continuing to operate it as a recreational use site is inconsistent with its unique and profound history,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “We also understand how important access to public lands and outdoor recreation are to Minnesotans. DNR is committed to ensuring high-quality recreation opportunities are available within the Minnesota River Valley, and we will continue to collaborate with the public and partners to expand and improve outdoor recreation options in the area.”

For more information on the transfer, click here.