Cottage Grove is making plans for the city's very first island


If you're looking for an island getaway, you might not have to go too far.

Cottage Grove has its first, and it's called Joseph La Bathe Settler's Island.

It might not be a tropical paradise, but city leaders have big plans for the three-acre space on the Mississippi River.

According to the Pioneer Press, Cottage Grove officials are looking at making a picnic area, or possibly incorporating part to it into a kayaking trail.

While the city wants to make the space accessible to the public, the South Washington County Bulletin reported last fall that leaders want to keep it as natural as possible.

Last fall, officials told the paper the island could even be used to study Minnesota's ecosystem. Apparently there are a lot of frogs and toads in the area, and biologists can use the amphibians' calls for studies.

But there are some things city officials need to take into consideration.

The only way to get out to the piece of land is via some sort of paddling boat. The paper says motorized boats might not be able to reach it because of shallow waters.

The island also has a tendency to flood in the spring, MPR News reports. And it's covered in grass, trees and other plants.

Cottage Grove got the island in 2015 after the owner failed to pay taxes.

Historic location

The area's historic significance is part of the reason city officials suggested making a kayaking trail, saying people could take a trip to visit Grey Cloud Island then rest on the green Joseph La Bathe Settler's Island.

The island not far from Grey Cloud, which according to the Washington County History Guide used to be home to the only indian village that existed in the county.

It has the largest concentration of indian mounds in the U.S., and there's a historic kiln that dates back to 1846.

And for people who aren't into history, City Pages named Grey Cloud Island one of Minnesota's most haunted places a few years back. (Note: Grey Cloud Island and Cottage Grove's new island are completely separate.)

You can get a glimpse of the city's new island in this video. MPR says it appears at about 3:05 and will be in the left corner of the screen.

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