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Park History

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners began park acquisitions in the middle 1960s when a group known as the Rune Stone Boosters began trying to acquire the homestead of Olaf Ohman. Mr. Ohman's farm contains the hill where the Kensington Rune Stone was discovered in 1898.

Three Havens Park was actually the first park acquired by the county. Purchased in 1969, this park has since been renamed Deputy Sheriff Curtis A Felt Memorial Park  in honor of county law enforcement officers who have lost their life in service of their communities. Curt Felt was slain by a prisoner enroute to court in 1978.

4-H club at Lake Brophy park - click on the picture to see a larger view & use your browser's Back button to return

Douglas County's objective has been to provide historic preservation along with outdoor recreation opportunities through the park system. Spruce Hill Park was purchased in 1979. The park contains the site of the pioneer era village of Spruce Hill. Chippewa Park was added in 1988. It is the location of the first county fair in Douglas County. Lake Brophy Park was constructed as a way side rest during depression era Work Progress Administration (WPA). Two beautiful cut stone circles provide scenic overlooks of Lake Brophy.

The Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance to provide for the control and management of parks in 1992. The ordinance establishes hours of operation and permitted uses of the parks.  It also outlines certain uses that are not allowed.

A policy plan was prepared in 1994 to help establish future acquisition, development, and maintenance goals for Douglas County Parks. The plan included a needs assessment survey of residents, a park visitor survey, and a recreation resource inventory. This Policy Plan continues to guide efforts in the park division. It contains the following conclusions.

Central Lakes Trail jogger - click on the picture to see a larger view and use your browser's Back button to return
  • County parks shall be administered by the parks division of the public works department according to Minnesota Statute Chapter 398 and any rules promulgated in conformance therewith. A parks commission should be established pursuant to Chapter 398.36.

  • Douglas County will allow the use of all funding mechanisms provided for in the Minnesota Statutes to acquire fee title to certain property for use by the public as county parks.

  • Lands to be acquired shall meet the guidelines established in the policy plan.

  • Douglas County will use professional design services for any facilities constructed on a county park. Each park developed shall have at least a public drinking water supply, sanitary restrooms, waste water treatment or disposal, and an adequate means of litter control.

  • Douglas County shall, to the fullest extent possible, use the following sources to establish safety and design standards for county parks.

    • Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Recreational Facilities and Outdoor Developed Space (ADAAG)

    • Consumer Products Safety Commission Handbook for Public Playground Safety, 1997 Edition

  • Douglas County will provide training for the park division maintenance staff and will periodically review existing park facilities to assess the need for renovation.

The Policy Plan and Park Ordinance are available for review at the park office in the Douglas County Public Works Center. We welcome public feedback on our policies and procedures. Our goal is to

  • define the county's role in outdoor recreation
  • help identify appropriate properties for acquisition as parks
  • identify appropriate financial resources to carry out these policies
  • define the administration and operational standards for the parks division
  • develop a framework for decision making about growth management, resource preservation, interagency cooperation, and citizen involvement.