One of the most visited state parks in Minnesota is open again, six months after serious flooding closed it to the public.
Fort Snelling State Park has been closed since late March, when ice jams and snowmelt caused major flooding across the southern half of Minnesota.
The flood damage continue throughout the wet spring, washing out access roads and trails all over the park.
But the park finally re-opened on Tuesday morning, just in time for the fall colors, after months of repairs by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The floods brought down trees and caused "substantial damage" to buildings, roads and the water supply at the park, the DNR said, requiring extensive road improvements and repairs to water mains that served the park's offices.
"We know how eager people have been to get back out to the park, so we’re really excited to finally be reopening,” said Fort Snelling State Park assistant supervisor Nick Bartels on Tuesday.
"We still have a lot of work left to do and some parts of the park will remain closed until that work can be completed, but our goal has always been to reopen the park as soon as safely possible."
While often flooding due to its location at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, the DNR says it has never been closed for such a length of time a result of floods.
Fort Snelling is the second most visited state park in Minnesota, attracting more than 550,000 visitors a year, behind only Gooseberry Falls State Park on the North Shore.
It was named a state park in 1961, and is the only state park in the Twin Cities metro.