Corps of Engineers partners with Owámniyomni Okhódayapi and the city of Minneapolis for park and recreational purposes at Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

By Elizabeth StoeckmannMay 17, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, and Owámniyomni Okhódayapi, formerly known as Friends of the Falls, along with the city of Minneapolis, began a new partnership for park and recreational purposes at Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam located in Minneapolis, in March.

The partners signed a 25-year lease whereby Owámniyomni Okhódayapi will be allowed to use the site for interpretive programming and recreational events. Since Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam was closed to navigation in 2015, the Corps, city and others have been evaluating future opportunities and needs at the site. OO was founded in response to the closure of the lock to navigation. The city of Minneapolis, authorized Owámniyomni Okhódayapi, to be the lessee to further full conveyance per Section 356 of Water Resource Development Act (2020). The lease conditions ensure compatibility with the other parties on site, does not allow for modifications of the site and will not increase expenses for federal government.

The Corps of Engineers will continue to own and maintain the site. The Corps will continue to operate the Tainter gate when necessary to pass high flows. Under the current Memorandum of Agreement between the Corps and the National Park Service, the St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center will remain open. All permits, licenses and agreements already in place at the site between the Corps of Engineers and the NPS, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation will continue.

“The Corps is happy to grant a lease to Owámniyomni Okhódayapi as well as other nonprofit organizations for park and recreational purposes while continuing to work on long-term efforts for Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam,” said Karla Sparks, program manager.

The Corps is committed to providing a diverse range of outdoor activities that connect individuals with nature and the water, promoting a healthy lifestyle, educating the public on environmental sustainability, water safety and managing our public lands in a way that will preserve them for future generations to enjoy.