Olmsted County is one of Minnesota’s fastest growing areas. Growth increases the pressure on natural habitats and the demand for recreational facilities. The Olmsted County Board of Commissioners has directed the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department to draft an “open space” plan. For purposes of this plan, “open space” is defined as an area that is managed in its natural state or used for outdoor recreation and is free from intensive development for residential, commercial, industrial, or institutional use.
This plan will cohesively document existing open space policies found in the components of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, map natural and environmentally sensitive areas found throughout the County, relate those areas to existing public and private landholdings, and provide a toolbox for their conservation or acquisition as funding becomes available. Private sportsmen’s and environmental organizations may also find this plan useful to target their efforts and support applications for grant monies.
As part of this effort, the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department is conducting a survey of public officials and commission members, recreation and environmental organizations, and the general public. The goal is to collect information on our area’s open space strengths and weaknesses as well as find out what areas people consider to be important to our County’s natural and recreational environment. The survey is located on Survey Monkey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VY3ZYVZ and should take about 15 minutes to complete; the survey will be open until July 16th.