Government Island Reclamation Celebration
September 10, 2022
Warroad Community Development (WCD) in partnership with the City of Warroad hosted a celebration to mark the beginning of a significant project to reclaim Government Island on Tuesday August 30th.
The celebratory event took place at Harbor Park next to Lake of the Woods Brewery in Warroad. In attendance were local and state representatives as well as representatives from the sponsoring organizations.
Government Island (GI) is a manmade island in the middle of the Warroad River, created from the dumping of materials dredged from Muskeg Bay at the mouth of the river. There is rich local history with Government Island serving commercial purposes early in its 120 years of existence. In the early 1980’s, it was used as a commercial area for fisheries and the logging industry as well as dry dock during the 1950’s for the overwintering of large vessels like the Bert Steele. Little has happened on the island since that time with nature reclaiming the land.
In 2019, WCD created the strategic vision for what Government Island could mean for the community and initiated efforts to develop Government Island as a park and recreation area serving as a draw to Warroad’s downtown commercial district. Ownership wasn’t established until 2020 when the island was platted with the county and DNR claimed ownership of the 6 acres of land. In March 2020, under a short-term permit from DNR, the WCD team began clearing the island of debris. Working with DNR and the local legislative representatives, WCD forged a partnership with DNR that resulted in transfer of ownership in November 2021 through a quit claim deed to the City of Warroad to be used as a park and recreation area for residents and tourists. Working in conjunction with the WCD GI Stakeholder Team, a master site plan was developed in February 2022 by Damon Farber Landscaping Architects of St. Paul, MN. In July 2022, funding was secured for the first phase, park fixtures ordered and the WCD team began landscaping and clearing the island.
The Reclamation Celebration marks the start of work in reclaiming Government Island from the overgrowth, creating an additional year-round destination in the City of Warroad. With picnic tables, benches, firepits, docks and trails, Government Island will not just provide opportunity to enjoy long summer days by the Warroad River but also additional resting and warming spots along the Riverbend Skate Path which will be returning for its third year this winter.
This project is made possible because of generous support provided by:
• Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
• LifeCare Health Care Fund
• Warroad Area Community Fund
• Endowment Grants