I rode in the park yesterday. There were signs along the bike path, warning of an imminent trail closure. A controlled burn of the Steinberg Prairie area is planned for this month. This is the grassland between Steinberg Rink and Round Lake. Usually they just mow the grasses. This section of the dual path trail will be closed the day of the burn. The signs have a map of the detour around the burn area. They’ve tried using prairie fire as a means to restore the park’s grasslands before. A year or so ago they fired the grass in the Deer Lake region of the park, but they soon had to shut the whole thing down, because high winds were making it difficult to control the fire. I wish them better luck this time.
The park is scheduled to begin another phase of restoration. $30M in construction projects are scheduled to kickoff this spring. This work is the follow-on to the $125M spent in the initial restoration phase. A third of the new money is slated for road and sidewalk pavement work. Many of the roads to be rebuilt date back to the 1904 World’s Fair. This work will be scheduled around the peak summer tourist season. Other projects include the rebuilding of the Round Lake fountain, the installation of a waterfall on Jefferson Lake and adding year-round restrooms and water fountains for the bike/ped trail loops. The initial work this spring includes new signage, to help visitors navigate the park.