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Good news for Sucker Creek

Sucker Creek winds westward from 290th Avenue south of Detroit Lakes. More than 50 acres on the east side of the road will be purchased by the City of Detroit Lakes. Brian Basham/Tribune1 / 2
Sally Hausken points out flowers last summer on the new 50-plus acre land to be added to the Sucker Creek Nature Preserve. Brian Basham/Tribune2 / 2

While it may not have delivered good news for Detroit Mountain, the Legacy grant program brought good news for Sucker Creek Preserve.

The Department of Natural Resources awarded $7.49 million in Parks and Trails Legacy grants throughout Minnesota, and the city of Detroit Lakes received $495,000 to purchase more than 50 acres across the street from the existing Sucker Creek Preserve in what is called Upstream Sucker Creek.

It will also be used to develop a bog walk, trails and other facilities at Sucker Creek.

"I'm delighted," Sally Hausken said. "I worked very hard and spent two months on it," she said of the grant.

Hausken has spearheaded the effort to purchase the land that became Sucker Creek, restore it to its native land and preserve the natural area used for walking and educational programs. She was responsible for raising the $410,000 it took to acquire and restore Sucker Creek Preserve.

One of the keys to the Upstream Sucker Creek land, Hausken has always said, is that there are multiple springs on the property and having a freshwater source in Detroit Lakes is invaluable.

"We are wise to protect ourselves and it with ownership and responsible stewardship," she told the city council this summer when asking the city to be the sponsor on the grant application.

"They aren't making water anymore," she said Tuesday night during the council meeting. "It's a real water source."

The piece of property is located across 290th Avenue from the existing Sucker Creek Preserve. It consists of 38 acres of wooded land, three acres of meadow and five acres of bog.

The land was appraised at $124,800. The remainder of the grant will be used for a handicap accessible bog walk - someone in a wheelchair can go out on the bog "and do their trout fishing" - bathrooms, parking lot, shelter and signage.

Hausken said the difference between the two grants, and the land for that matter, is this one involved people. The first grant for Sucker Creek Preserve was all about acquiring the land, getting it back to its natural state and creating a preserve for people to enjoy.

This grant not only purchased the land, but was more about how people can use the land, meaning the bathrooms, parking lot, bog walk, etc.

"On behalf of the council, thank you for all your work," Mayor Matt Brenk told Hausken Tuesday night.

Other grants awarded

Other recipients include:

• The City of Walker received $425,000 to construct an underpass under state Highway 200/371 to complete the Shingobee Connection Trail, which connects the Paul Bunyan and Heartland state trails to Walker.

• St. Louis and Lake counties Regional Rail Authority received $512,000 to develop the Mesabi Trail at the eastern edge of Vermilion State Park.

• Lyon County received $1.4 million to construct a new paved off-road bicycle and pedestrian trail that will connect Camden State Park to Marshall.

• Freeborn County received $950,000 to acquire more than 12 miles of abandoned rail line for a new bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfare that will link to the Blazing Star State Trail in Albert Lea.

• Itasca County received $200,000 to improve more than six miles of the Mesabi Trail, parking and signage.

• City of Rochester received $250,000 to develop a multi-use path that connects to Quarry Hill Nature Center and Rochester's existing trail system.

• Benton County received $280,000 to create a river overlook and other facilities in Bend in the River Regional Park.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.