Goodbye trees, Goodbye historic Hidden Falls

WPA project from 1936, and what else? For a bicycle tunnel? See below-

tunnel mess.jpg

What the City was looking for in Hidden Falls-Crosby Farm River Study 1970

Letter from Paul S. Fjare, Bauer and Assoc. to City of St. Paul, Dept of Parks and Rec and Buildings(!)

"Too often a municipality fails to recognize its natural assets before space, time and money run out. The people of St. Paul should consider themselves fortunate that there still remains and area near the heart of downtown, relatively untouched by aggressive development.

The Hidden Falls-Crosby Farm area is a unique combination of topography, vegetation, water and geology...

With a program and design that respects the sites' natural amenities, this area will benefit the Twin Cities now and for future generations."

Too bad their current minions failed to heed them, even though the 2018 group gave it a good shot, see below.

Remember Global Warming? Is sacrificing 100 year old trees a way to head it off?

No one appears to be counting,

but someone should.


Highland Bridge is going to cover 122 acres of formerly open earth with concrete. The City's claw back of what little open space existed in its original design means that green space is going to become even more rare with multiple variances reducing open space, as each new project is proposed.

Concrete, is described in a Guardian article  as the most destructive material on earth for many reasons, but primarily for it's several contributions to global warming. The author asserts that "By one calculation, we may have already passed the point where concrete outweighs the combined carbon mass of every tree, bush and shrub on the planet."

So the very last thing we should be doing (at the same time) is ripping down what remains of St. Paul's tree resources. This has already begun which can be confirmed with a drive along Mississippi River Blvd. adjacent to the site, or past the ball fields off of Cleveland Ave.


This is the engineering equivalent of a lung removal because trees, especially as they age, retain lots of CO(up to 22 tons!) in their trunks. If they age and die, this is released back into the atmosphere, if they are cut down, it is not, doubling down on the disaster.*

This thought needs to guide us as Ryan and subcontractors move ahead with the Highland Bridge development. If not we all may find ourselves increasingly at the mercy of negative climate change, and we will deserve it.

*Wohlleben, P. The Hidden Life of Trees, Greystone Books, Vancouver/Berkeley

Hidden Falls Regional Park: Natural Resource Management Plan

©2018 by Great River Greening
251 Starkey Street, Suite 2200
St. Paul, MN 55107


1. Where possible, ameliorate areas of headward ravine erosion via stormwater runoff
that promote undercutting and collapsing of limestone cliffs.
2. Actively discourage off-trail use by visitors and their pets, such as by blocking access
to closed travel routes and posting signs. Several off-trail areas that attract human traffic
are small sandstone exposures on the bluffs that are becoming badly eroded and growing
in size. Comments about specific eroded exposures are given in preliminary report on
bluff slope erosion given earlier in this report.
Mature Cottonwood – Silver Maple Forest
This community consists of areas of mature, even-aged continuous-canopied floodplain forest dominated by large, tall cottonwoods that form a supercanopy over other trees.

A few of the cottonwoods are enormous, open-grown trees with huge trunk diameters and broad, widely spreading crowns. These few trees are progenitors of most of the cottonwoods in the park. They are surprisingly young, however: one that fell down in late summer 2004 was approximately 4 feet in diameter but had only 80 - 90 growth rings. Most of the other large cottonwoods are younger and straight-trunked, indicating that they grew up together in a stand.

p. 42

(Comment: 'They're gone now, and ain't coming back, Ryan's earth movers done took them away." apologies to John Prine)