Editor’s note: This feature was originally published in our April 2020 issue, before the coronavirus pandemic and Governor Tim Walz’s initial stay-at-home order, so information is subject to change. Follow the most up to date CDC guidelines around going outside and visiting parks and playgrounds.
We Minnesotans always want to pinpoint what makes this place special. The reality, of course, is that our identity comes from many things—our people, our northness, our semi-compulsive need to figure out what makes us special. That said, if we had to pick one overriding state trait, it would be our generations-long embrace of Minnesota’s outdoor spaces.
In this issue, we explore that treasured landscape: from the grandeur of Longfellow’s storied waterfall to the vast expanses of prime suburban and exurban real estate that will, ironically, never be real estate at all, because it is public parkland. As visionary city park planner Horace W. S.