Waterfowl hunting along the shore of King’s Island will now be allowed.
The Anoka City Council unanimously supported the change, which will open up another recreational opportunity to the island.
The change will mean the city will designate a waterfowl zone in the area south of the island. Since 2008 hunting has been allowed in the city by special permit.
This hunting zone would be along the shoreline, 20 yards on either side of the high water elevation, and 500 feet from any structure, according to Greg Lee, the city’s public services director and engineer. It will also follow Minnesota’s waterfowl hunting seasons.
This waterfowl hunting zone will mirror a similar area across the river in Dayton, which has several hunting zones established. Signs will be placed on both ends of the hunting zones to let hunters know where hunting would, and would not, be allowed.
Along with the city council, the establishment of a waterfowl hunting zone was also supported by Anoka’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
The 72-acre island, located on the Mississippi River, is across Highway 10 from the Anoka Technical College, where Lee said there is access by land. Otherwise, the island can be reached by boat.
“This piece of ground is rather unique… and it’s not going to be anything but a real jewel that has opportunities to take advantage like this whether it’s the trail, whether it’s waterfowling or hiking or geocaching or fishing,” said Councilmember Jeff Weaver.
An avid outdoorsman, Weaver said he would like to see the island have special treatment when it comes to land management.
“I would ask that we treat this going forward as a WMA (wildlife management area) with prescribed, described uses that would be permitted on this property,” said Weaver.
The new waterfowl zone also lead the council to discuss other hunting opportunities on the island.
Councilmember Mark Freeburg raised the idea of also offering a special archery season on deer.
“There is an overabundance of deer in there and they do have a tendency to meander through the yards and on the highway,” said Freeburg. “There might be an opportunity to manage that situation.”
He said it could also be a great place for people with physical disabilities to hunt – an idea Lee said has also been brought up and supported by the park board.
Other work on the island
Waterfowl hunting is only one piece of a longer-term plan to improve recreational opportunities on King’s Island.
In late fall or early winter, two other projects on the island are likely to get under way.
Anoka, along with the city of Ramsey, was successful in securing more than $380,000 in federal funding to establish an approximately two-mile paved trail through the island that will connect Mississippi Community Park in Anoka and Mississippi West Regional Park in Ramsey.
Lee said some of the work to prepare the ground for the trail, could start this fall once the ground is frozen. Trail and bridge construction is planned for 2013.
In addition, the city of Anoka also received a Lessard Sams Conservation Partners Legacy Grant that will help fund the dredging of a channel that runs along the northern side of the island. The $209,000 grant will be met with some city funding to cover the project, estimated to cost $247,000.
Lee said back in the 1960s King’s Island was mined for gravel to be used in the construction of Highway 10. Two land bridges with small culverts were constructed and over time water has stopped flowing freely.
“Those land bridges will be taken out and the channel will be restored to how it used to be,” said Lee.
Once the waterway is opened up, it will improve the habitat for fish spawning, he said. It could also be used for canoeing or kayaking.
Lee said the city will dredge about 4,800 lineal feet of the channel. Once complete, it will be 20 feet wide and about three feet deep all the way through, with a few deeper pockets for fish spawning.
Work to clear the channel could start in late fall or early winter, as well.
Lee said the ideal time would be once the ground is frozen.
For now, the island doesn’t get a lot of use because access is difficult. But once the trail goes in, other amenities could follow. He said the possibility of a picnic shelter and a fishing dock or pier have been discussed.
Mandy Moran Froemming is at email@example.com