Dakota County opens park for hiking, camping

Published 9:50 am Monday, September 29, 2014

FARMINGTON — A new park offering treehouse-like cabins, a sledding hill and 10 miles of trails has opened in Dakota County.

Officials held a grand opening for Whitetail Woods Regional Park this weekend. They said the 456-acre area is the county’s first new offering in nearly 30 years.

The county bought the land for $12 million in 2008 and has spent $4.3 million over the past two years on trails, architecture and site work.

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Metropolitan Council data show more than 70 percent of park visits by Dakota County residents are outside of the county. Officials hope park features such as cabins on 14-foot stilts will attract county residents.

A county commissioner said its parks have more than a million visitors a year, but officials want to see more.