Fort Ridgely needs a plan for future

We have to agree with DNR?Deputy Director Phil Leversedge, who said at Tuesday’s Fort Ridgely Citizen Advisory Committee meeting that there is a need to focus on the future of the park outside of the golf course issue.

We know the golf course issue isn’t going to go away. Hope continues to burn among the supporters of the course that some alternative plan for the course will be developed, but it is obvious that the Department of Natural Resources would rather not be involved.

Fort Ridgely State Park is more than just a golf course, of course. It is a significant historic site for this part of the state. We have seen the interest there is in the pioneer history of the area, especially surrounding the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Fort Ridgely was an important part of that period.

Over the years, however, it seems that the number of visitors to the park have been dropping. Perhaps it is a matter of a drop in state funding for programming and maintenance. But we remember when the park hosted a historic rendezvous every summer, with pioneer re-enactors, the New Ulm Battery and other groups gathering for a weekend of entertaining and educational activities.

We don’t know if reviving that is the answer to Fort Ridgely, but we do think that looking at the overall purpose and possible uses for the park is a good and necessary thing. We wish the citizen advisory council success in boosting the use of the park in the future.