Long Range Trail Planning
The Louisville-Merriam Junction and Shallow Waters Regional Trail Long Range Plans are now available for public comment. Comments will be accepted from Monday November 27th through Wednesday December 27th at 5pm. To submit comments please email [email protected] All input received will be publicly documented and reviewed for incorporation into the plan as appropriate.
The Shallow Waters Regional Trail is identified in the Scott County 2040 Comprehensive Plan as a section of a regional trail search corridor connecting Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park to Doyle-Kennefick Regional Park and continuing to Cleary Lake Regional Park. The Louisville-Merriam Junction Regional Trail is identified in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan as the Louisville Regional Trail Search Corridor, which connects the Big Woods Regional Trail to Merriam Junction Regional Trail, which then connects across the Minnesota River to Carver County and other neighboring regional trail systems. Both search corridors are recognized in the Metropolitan Regional Parks Policy Plan. Ultimately, the adoption of long-range plans by the County and approval by the Metropolitan Council, will allow Scott County to work to preserve the trail corridors through the land development process, road construction, and other opportunities and make Scott County eligible for regional and state funding for acquisition and development of the trails. Trail development is also planned to occur through the land development process.
The trail planning process kicked off in early 2022. A significant amount of community engagement has been conducted during this regional trail planning effort and, while not required, it is common and best practice to provide a public comment period on final drafts of long range plans. Engagement activities for these plans have included an interactive project website, holding open houses, direct mailings, utilizing Scott County social media, offering staff office hours, property owner meetings, and presentations with community-focused groups, cities, and townships. In addition to these engagement efforts, staff gathered a Technical and Community Team to advise throughout the process. These trail corridors create essential connections that will provide safe routes for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel and recreate in Scott County. The regional trails are proposed to be 10-foot wide, paved multi-use trails, to accommodate a variety of users, including walkers, bikers, in-line skaters, wheelchairs, and strollers. Horse and snowmobile uses are not proposed to be allowed. Trail facilities will be designed to meet or exceed guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Both trails remove gaps in the Regional Bicycle Transportation Network.
Parks Planning Background
In preparation for the development of Scott County’s regional park and trail system, the Parks and Trails Department initiated a major planning process in 2010 to determine the short- and long-term development plans for three regional parks and two regional trail corridors. Completing these plans increased external funding opportunities for regional park and trail improvements. Final master plan documents for individual parks and trails are available on the right hand side of the page. These documents will be updated periodically, and additional work will be completed to develop design and construction plans as development occurs.
The 2010 Scott County Parks and Trails master planning process was developed with a grass-roots decision making framework that considers system-wide and public policy needs, ensuring the needs and realities of today are balanced with a vision towards future generations. Concept designs were developed under the guidance of the Citizen Design Team, a 45-member group of Scott County residents and park users.
Over 400 residents participated in workshops, open houses, and on-site tours to provide input on the master plans. Feedback from these events were used by the Citizens Design Team and consultants to prepare park and trail concept designs. Results from the policy workshops are available below.