CEDAR LAKE PARK MEMORIAL GROVE: GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY
Location: The Cedar Lake Park Memorial Grove (or Cedar Grove) is located to the northeast of Cedar Lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is clearly marked on the map to the right by the double-spiral dots.
Directions: The Cedar Grove can only be accessed by foot or bicycle. The nearest parking is to the south at 21st & Upton. You can access an earthen road at the north end of the Upton Ave. Follow this trail for about a half-mile (keeping right) until you see two cedar sentinels. There you will see a path that goes to the left (west) along the arc of the cedar trees Follow the path into the heart of the park. You will see the Cedar Lake Park Memorial Bench and the beginning of the double-spiraled Cedar Grove.
The Cedar Grove can be accessed by bicycle by taking the Cedar Lake Regional Trail. A broad earthen road perpendicularly intersects the trail (about half-mile east of the Cedar Lake Parkway Bridge) and leads to the south. Follow the road until you see two cedar sentinels. There you will see a path that goes to the right (west) along the arc of the cedar trees Follow the path into the heart of the park. You will see the Cedar Lake Park Memorial Bench and the beginning of the double-spiraled Cedar Grove.
The Cedar Grove began as a fundraising effort on the part of Save Cedar Lake Park (SCLP) By 1992, the group, now known as the Cedar Lake Park Association, needed operating capital. One member suggested eliciting donationw from members as a way to provide a method to remember departed friends and family, as well as honor living loved ones by planting a cedar tree in Cedar Lake Park.
In the Spring 1993 Cedar Lake Park Update, the SCLP president noted, “It seems somehow wrong that there are so few cedar trees in the park.” The article noted that dozens had already donated several thousands of dollars towards the establishment of a grove of cedar trees. Donations for wildflower plantings in the soon-to-be established Cedar Lake Park Prairie. Donations were set at $300.00 per tree. Partial donation were accepted as well.
Drum and Song Dedicate Cedar Grove
On Sunday, October 6, 1996, over one hundred people attended the dedication ceremony for the Cedar Grove. Water was collected from each lake in the Chain of Lakes as well as the Mississippi River and was used to nourish the six red cedars that were planted that day. Songs were sung and a native blessing given. You can read more about the day by accessing the Save Cedar Lake Park Updated Winter 1996/97 on our publications page.
Laying out the Spirals
In the spring of 1998, the now-Cedar Lake Park Association contacted Dunwoody Institute to help with laying out the double spirals that would make up the arms of the Cedar Grove. Using cutting-edge GPS technology, faculty and students collected data on the existing location of the six cedar trees originally planted in 1996) used the Universal Transerse Mercator projection to place real world coordinates on the project. The spirals theoretically reach out to infinity.
Summer 1998 Planting
Armed with the GPS data, volunteers sited specific locations for the remaining trees. The site was cleared and holes dug. Over the course of a long day, sixty more cedar trees were placed on the spiral coordinates. A few of these trees did not survive; however, volunteer cedars from the surrounding area were re-located into the vacant sites. In total sixty-six trees now comprise the Cedar Lake Park Memorial Grove. As trees die off, CLPA volunteers continue to replace them with volunteer cedar trees from the surrounding area.
Not long after the spiral were in place, discussion began about a providing a place of respite at the heart of the Cedar Grove. Eventually long-time member Steve Durrant, who as a landscape architect was involved in the creation of Cedar Lake Park and its trails, came up with a simple, yet elegant design of dolomite sandstone. Volunteers, withs some mechanical help, put in the bench in the winter of 2003. Since then, many have enjoyed it.
Long time CLPA members John & Mary Richter graciously donated the funds needed to purchase the bench. Although they were physically unable to come out to the Cedar Grove, through the wonders of Photoshop technology, we brought them out there! Alas, Mary has passed on, but we continue to honor her memory.
Clearing the Buckthorn
Since its creation in 1996, CLPA has been constantly monitoring the area. Every few years, volunteers come into the grove and clear away the buckthorn that threatens to choke out the trees. The Calhoun Beach Running Club, pictured above, spent a day in 2014 clearing out the area. They returned again in the spring of 2015 to continue the effort. CLPA is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the Cedar Lake Park Memorial Grove.