County celebrates open spaces with pool party at Bunker Beach

Celebrating 50 years of providing “open spaces in nearby places,” the Anoka County park system threw a pool party at Bunker Beach Water Park Aug. 15.

Almost 2,500 people came out to Bunker Beach Aug. 15 to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Anoka County park system. Photos by Sue Austreng

Almost 2,500 people came out to Bunker Beach Aug. 15 to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Anoka County park system. Photos by Sue Austreng

Nearly 2,500 swimmers of all shapes and sizes took a dip, rode the waves and rafted down the lazy river during the three-hour celebration.

Admission to Bunker Hills Regional Park and the water park was offered free of charge in honor of the half-century celebration.

More free entertainment was provided by the band, Shake Down, and national yoyo master Dazzling Dave Schulte.

The Bunker Beach pool party was the second event this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first Anoka County park.

The first celebration happened May 22 at Kordiak Park, formerly Highland Park in Columbia Heights, which was not only the first Anoka County park to open but also the first county park in the state.

The park was renamed in honor of former Anoka County Commissioner Al Kordiak, who spearheaded the creation of the county park system and is known as the “father” of the Anoka County parks.

Special legislation enacted by the Minnesota Legislature was required to allow Anoka County to start its park system.

In the past 50 years, the county park system has grown to include nearly 11,000 acres of natural area, eight regional parks, five county parks and two conservation areas with over 3.8 million visitors a year.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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