Apple Blossom Scenic Drive Study
U of M Center for Urban & Regional Affairs worked with local government on development issues and options in scenic area within prime agricultural acreage in Winona County. Goals were to:
- Assess "build out possibilities" for agricultural land under heavy development pressures
- Examine sustainable tourism options using the heritage tourism framework
- Patrick Nunnally - University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA)
- City of LaCrescent
- Dresbach Township Board
- Historic Bluff Country Association
- Clint Miller - Minnesota Land Trust
- Ingrid Schneider - University of Minnesota Tourism Center
- University of Minnesota Extension Wabasha and Winona Counties
- Winona County Planning Department
Conducted interviews, survey research and best practices/literature review
Final report (30 pages) titled Quality of Life and a Sense of Place in Southeast Minnesota provides an assessment of the issue, best practices information, and resources directory. The publication is available through any Minnesota library via the SELCO online catalog or MNLINK, from the SE Partnership's ERC Sustainable Library Collection.
The report shows the troublesome land use challenges associated with development pressures on fertile agricultural property (fruit orchards) driven by the scenic views characteristic of the acreage. It offers ways of optimizing the sustainable economic development of the property that does not sacrifice environmental and community values to the extent characteristic of unbridled development.
The US Center for Urban and Regional Affairs developed this research as part of its ongoing Bridging the River Project. Patrick Nunnally, a CURA fellow, also brought in the expertise of the U of M Tourism Center and the Extension Service.
The project was initiated through discussions involving local township leaders and the Minnesota Land Trust. Land use issues in this area are particularly sensitive and in the past there has been criticism of the University's role as a heavy-handed outside expert. In this case, citizens involved were party to the project from the outset.
This study should have been completed a decade before so much of the scenic property had been taken through development, with sustainable practices not being a concern. Also, more work at the outset would have involved more citizens and the report would have been that much more valuable. The study framework was sufficiently flexible to allow a change in focus after the initial data was collected.
The presence of the Partnership motivated the project leader to expand the citizen connections at the outset to make sure that the project results were not resisted by regional interests.
- In-Kind - $5,460
- University of Minnesota SE Regional Partnership - $8,045