When: Saturday, August 29. Midmorning to early afternoon.How: #852 express bus from 3rd street and Hennepin Ave. at 10:03 am, downtown Minneapolis to Springbrook, 100 85th ave. NE, Fridley. From where: People came from south Minneapolis, Uptown, Maplewood, and Mac-Groveland in St. Paul to our gathering point at 3rd and Hennepin. How Long: Total trip times varied (see below), but from downtown Minneapolis the ride is a little over 20 Minutes.
Ease: Again, from downtown with the #852, this trip is super easy. The bus drops you literally next to the nature center entrance. Problem on Saturdays: it runs only every 90 minutes – if you are late, you’re skunked.Worth doing: Springbrook has a lot of nature in its 127 acres to offer city people who are missing a walk in woods and wetlands. The Saturday feeding of reptiles and turtles at the center is a show stopper, very dramatic and not to be missed especially if you come with kids. ____________________________________________________________ Four of us arrived at the #852 stop by different means. We two from Mac-Groveland considered taking two buses, or bus and light rail, to downtown, but decided against this because of the possibility of delays. A delay is ok if there are many upcoming buses, but with one every 90 minutes, we couldn’t afford to be late. So, we biked to downtown – took us a leisurely hour. Joshua, from south Minneapolis, used both bike and light rail, and took roughly 1/2 hour from his house. Linda from Uptown, took the #4 along Hennepin. And Joe biked over from Maplewood. The park is obviously very accessible via bus #852 for anyone living in downtown; quite accessible for many other Minneapolitans, less so for St. Paulites requiring more than one transfer. The stop for Springbrook is on 85th Avenue at Evergreen Boulevard, and it’s a good idea to let your bus driver know ahead of time you want to stop there. Our driver did not know about Springbrook. A new trail runs parallel to 85th eastward about 3/4 mile to the Northtown mall, which has a transit hub in the parking lot on the northwest side. Several of us walked this trail from Springbrook and took the #10 bus from the mall along Central Avenue to downtown.
From Northtown this bus runs about every half hour on Saturdays, the drawback being it takes almost an hour to reach downtown. It’s a much used bus – standing room only as you approach downtown – and is great for people watching after a walk in the woods. It’s also convenient for people living in neighborhoods bordering Central Avenue to reach the park. And, by the way, Springbrook does solicit youth volunteers who could easily reach the park using the #10.For more about the nature center and its many programs and summer camps call 763-572-3588, or visit the center’s web page.
Addendum: Springbrook has a Sierra Club connection. It was threatened by defunding in 2003, and was the starting point of a Sierra Club Tour de Sprawl (land use and transportation conference on wheels) that year. You can read about the controversy and the park’s history in the North Star Chapter’s green space guide. Check out http://northstar.sierraclub.org/campaigns/open-space/greenGuide/springbrook/index.html.