Big Marine Park Reserve’s roots extend back at least 40 years beginning with the Metropolitan Council’s Park Acquisition Plan and Program completed in 1967. That plan, along with the 1967 Washington County Comprehensive Plan, cast a vision for park land on Big Marine Lake.
In 1987, a Master Plan for Big Marine Regional Park Reserve was developed and subsequently approved in 1988. Consistent with Metropolitan Council requirements, the Park Reserve represents one of eight regional landscape types found in the metropolitan community. The master plan conformed with a Park Reserve classification that restricts active recreation to 20 percent of the total park acreage with the remainder focused upon preservation of the resource base.
Since the completion of the Master Plan, Washington County Park staff have established a critical mass of property ownership to foster park development. Currently, 636 acres of the proposed 1,920 acres have been acquired, a portion of which is available for active park land. SRF worked with the County to complete the first phase and schematic development for the park reserve, which includes:
- Swim beach facility with family picnic areas and shelters, parking, and a playground
- Large group picnic areas
- Modern, RV, group, and primitive campground facilities
- Boat launch and parking
- Park entrance facilities, drive and internal access circulation
- Trail circulation development
- Restoration of native plant communities, woodlands, and wetland habitats
- Incorporation of stormwater bioretention basins and swales to minimize surface runoff
Implementation of this phase provides an important springboard to develop the park and realize the original vision of Big Marine Park Reserve.