New access open on Cedar River State Water Trail

Published 8:01 am Friday, August 11, 2017

Location chosen because it was already popular

A new rock-surface access for canoe and kayak launching on the Cedar River State Water Trail was opened on Thursday. The new access is located behind the Marcusen Park baseball stadium in Lafayette Park.

The Cedar River Watershed District held a media event announcing the opening Thursday morning.

“We’ve been looking for ways to improve the River, and access to the River is an important part of it,” said Tim Ruzek, Water Plan and Outreach Coordinator for the Mower Soil and Water Conservation District of the Cedar River Watershed District.

Email newsletter signup

Attending the event were representatives from the Austin Area Foundation, City of Austin, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Vision 2020 and Cedar River Canoe and Kayak Rental Services. State Senator Dan Sparks was also present.

The location was chosen due to its popularity as a launching site.

“We wanted to get a dedicated access site that wouldn’t wash out easily,” Ruzek said.

Tim Ruzek (left) of the Cedar River Watershed District talks about the new access point on the Cedar River with (from right) Greg Siems of Vision 2020, Jeff Baldus of the Austin Area Foundation and Mayor Tom Stiehm. Michael Stoll/

Last year, the Austin Area Foundation awarded the Cedar River Watershed District a $2,000 grant to cover the cost of materials for the access construction. Austin’s Public Works Department designed the access and delivered materials to a DNR crew to build the launch.

Construction began in late July. The slope was given a rocky surface and rip-rap rock to keep it from washing out and allow for safer and less muddy launches into the river.

Ruzek says the Cedar River Watershed District plans make more access sites, which is a goal of the Vision 2020 Waterways Committee.

Ruzek thanked Senator Sparks and Representative Jeanne Poppe for getting legislative approval to designate 25 miles of the Cedar
River as Minnesota’s 33rd State Water Trail in 2011.

“None of it would have happened if we didn’t have the state water trail designation,” he said. “We thank Senator Sparks and Representative Poppe for their work in making that designation happen.”

The Cedar Watershed District plans to work with the DNR and the City of Austin to add signage at various spots in the community to promote the locations of water-access sites.