Federal officials say the National Park Service will take over the management of abandoned federal land near Fort Snelling as part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Over the next few years, the land will be cleared of abandoned buildings and restored to its natural conditions.
The project includes restoration of Coldwater Spring, a site that has spiritual significance for Native Americans.
The property is located just south of Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, west of the Mississippi River. For decades, it was a research campus of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, a federal agency closed by the government in the mid-1990s.
Paul Labovitz, Superintendent for the Mississippi River site, said once the park is complete, it will give visitors a sense of what it might have looked like in the early 19th Century.
"And understand some of the stories the park was set up to protect and talk about. This national park is here to commemorate the Mississippi River which arguably is one of America's greatest stories and places," Labovitz said.
Labovitz said the National Park Service is working closely with Native American groups to create interpretive materials for the park.