Plans dropped for parking lot on 1862 battlefield at Fort Ridgely State Park

Officials have dropped plans to put a parking lot in the 1862 Indian/settler battlefield near Fairfax, in south central Minnesota.

The state Department of Natural Resources had considered reconfiguring some of the buildings at Fort Ridgely State Park, but after much local opposition will look for an alternative plan, says the Mankato Free Press.

There was a fort on the site in the 1850s and ’60s, and two battles were fought there in August 1862, during the Dakota War.

One of those opposed to the plan, John Fritsche of New Ulm, was pleased with the change of plan, telling the newspaper that it would have been like putting “a Wal-Mart in the middle of Gettysburg Park.”

The state park provides information on the battle, and visitors can tour the cemetery. There’s also recreation: a nine-hole golf course, hiking and horseback riding, camping and, in the winter, visitors can ski, snowmobile or slide down the big hill.

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