Coldwater Journal is a record of personal observations and reflections from visits to the Coldwater campus.

Please feel free to submit your thoughts and reflections about Coldwater for posting here on the FRIENDS of COLDWATER site via email.
Coldwater Journal is chronologically reversed. The newest postings are first.
(click for 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2009 journal)
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Before Pres. Bush Leaves Office join Friends of Coldwater in advocating for:
America's First Green Museum-A Place Where the Land IS the Museum

Sample letter to preserve Coldwater Spring as a 50-acre park to Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary, Department of the Interior .

Dear Secretary Kempthorne:

I am delighted that the National Park Service will assume responsibility for the 27-acre Coldwater Spring property in south Minneapolis.

Before Pres. Bush leaves office please complete the land transfer of the adjacent 23-acres of unused Veterans Administration land for one contiguous urban wilderness along the Mississippi bluff. The land transfer is within the Department of the Interior and involves no funding. It is environmentally and economically most efficient to return the blufftop property to oak savanna in one process and as soon as possible.

I also urge Interior to designate Coldwater Park as America's first Green Museum, a place where the land itself is the museum. Coldwater is a 10,000-year-old spring and the last natural spring in Hennepin County. The other local sacred spring, the Great Medicine Spring in Theodore Wirth Park along with Historic Glenwood Spring, were permanently destroyed in the late 1980s for highway construction.

"What happens to the water happens to the people."


Contact Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Department of the Interior via email or phone 202-208-7351 (email preferred).
And consider calling or copying your email to:
Congressman Keith Ellison: 612-522-1212 or online
Senator Amy Klobuchar: 612-727-5220 or online
Senator Norm Coleman: 651-645-0323 or online

Friends of Coldwater letter to Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne about a future Coldwater Park.

Dear Secretary Kempthorne:

Friends of Coldwater has been informed that the DOI plans to make the National Park Service (NPS) responsible for the 27-acre (former Bureau of Mines) Coldwater Spring property on the Mississippi blufftop just south of Minneapolis city limits.

Before President Bush leaves office we urge you to transfer the adjoining 23-acre Veterans' Administration land to the new NPS park to form a contiguous 50-acre Mississippi blufftop buffer...
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Friday, 09.19.08
Perfect Day

(Coldwater) It was a perfect day at Coldwater. The leaves are just beginning to turn with a flare of red in the Sumacs and a last glorious splurge of vegetation just starting to fade into yellow. A soft breeze rippled the trees, providing both beauty and breath no matter what direction you looked. The pond, which has been clear for most of the summer, now has a spattering of yellow and brown leaves on the surface, signaling the change of season.

Another change is also taking place at Coldwater. Friends of Coldwater learned today that due to a breakdown in negotiation between the Fish and Wildlife service--who manage Coldwater--and the current security agency responsible for opening, closing, and patrolling Coldwater, the security agency has decided not to renew their contract as of October 1, 2008. Friends of Coldwater does not know at this time who will provide these services for Coldwater

-Sue Ann Martinson
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Wednesday, 07.16.08
Carol Kratz

Carol Kratz in 1999
photo by Michael Bayly
(Coldwater) Our heroic and beloved Carol passed away July 16. Carol was a champion of the earth and by her stubborn resistance to MnDOT's plans saved Coldwater Spring for the future, for all of us.

Carol held onto her River View Road home snagging MnDOT's plans to cut through Minnehaha Park and the groundwater supply to Coldwater. Carol, Mary Jo Iverson and Dave Fudally spearheaded the resistance to the Highway 55 reroute and formed Park & River Alliance. They collected 12,000 signatures to support the land however no government agency would accept the huge petition.

Park & River Alliance began a federal lawsuit which was dismissed on a technicality. The Alliance morphed into Stop the Reroute led by Jill Walker of the Sierra Club. Bill Busse of Greenpeace established Camp Two Pines beside Carol and Al's home in 1998 where they were joined by Earth First! and the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community and the great 17-month encampment began.

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Friday, 05.16.08
Minnesota's Sesquicentennial Week

(Coldwater) This 10,000-year-old spring is the Birthplace of the State of Minnesota, where the soldiers who built Fort Snelling lived 1820-23. As the soldiers moved into the fort, civilians moved in to service the military with priests, translators, meat, whiskey, wives, guides, babysitters and community life.

By 1838, pioneers were being forced off the military reservation
and downriver to found Saint Paul and then the state in 1858. Four years later the US-Dakota war erupted because the government refused to issue stored food to starving Dakota people as required by treaty. Minnesota was no "land without people for a people without land." Minnesota was stolen from the indigenous people who were exiled and when they returned, a bounty was offered for their scalps. Dakota war leader Little Crow's scalp fetched $75.

At Coldwater today it is as quiet and peaceful as you'd wish for a visit to a sacred site. There are no Indian people here and there is no mention of 9,000 years of Native habitation on the state Historical Society plaque. It is as if the history of this place began with the occupation of the site by white men.

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Friday, 4.25.08
Spring Green

(Coldwater) Coldwater is intensely green today, so green I almost squint. The labyrinth lawn and the great willow are neon spring green. Green is the color of the heart chakra and the color of money in America. There are 248 words in American-English for money.

Coldwater is the last, the one and only, natural spring still flowing in Hennepin County.


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Monday, 4.05.08
Common Carp are Cuddling at Coldwater

(Coldwater) What would be the number of invasive carp eggs swept down Coldwater Creek into the Mississippi River? There must be about 20 carp-one has got to be a 12-pounder.

It looks like the bullheads and goldfish are gone, they were also illegally dumped into Coldwater reservoir.

US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) contract groundskeepers pushed all the labyrinth rocks into the erosion gully at the top of the hill behind and above the spring. What began as a dimple in the land has become an outwash channel silting up the reservoir. Every spring snow melt, every big rain event, water pours off the huge warehouse roof and down the gully.

FWS is responsible for the Coldwater campus however no landscape maintenance has been done on their watch. Ten years of exotic invasive buckthorn and garlic mustard growth has killed out native plants. The indigenous vegetation had extensive root systems that held the soil.

Five strangers wandered down to Coldwater this afternoon-this bold blue 70-degree spring day. There was a former Texan whose 6- and 7-year-old boys so enjoyed their first winter that each boy wore out two pairs of snow pants, a dad with his young daughter and son walked through, and then two older gents in work clothes with questions about the plaque that forgot to mention 9,000-years of Native American history.

Tuesday 03.04.08
Dred Scott in Minnesota

(Coldwater) In the Dred Scott decision, Minnesota played a part in the cultural battle against slavery in the United States. Like the war on terrorism and "just war" debates raging now, the great slave debate divided the nation, divided families, and was as much about finances as ethics.

In 1857, 151-years ago on March 6, Dred Scott was found to be "not a person." This finding by the Supreme Court of the United States was boo-ed and ridiculed inside the country and abroad. Like the "illegal aliens" of today, the "enemy combatants" and the extradited and disappeared, slaves had no legal standing.

Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom in 1846. After an eleven year court battle Scott, Harriet, his wife and mother of their daughters, Eliza and Lizzie, lost their freedom case. The high court found that Scott was ineligible to bring his case for freedom from slavery into the federal court system. Dred Scott, 62, was found to be a slave, "not a person," and therefore had no personhood rights in the federal courts.

In 2008 corporations are considered "persons" under the law...
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