Many fond memories of the Woods as a child! We used to walk back there and play, climb trees, walk the dog, explore and feel like we were miles away even though we were close to home. Fall is beautiful back there with the changing colors.
— Tania Sisel
I’m a 20 year resident of St Paul, but new to this neighborhood. How does one get to Breck Woods? I haven’t been able to find it.
— David Faust
➡️ Thanks for asking. From the intersection of Hoyt and Fulham, head west into the Seminary. You’ll see Breck Woods and its paths to your right.
We have enjoyed the migrating birds, and other animals for over 40 years.
— Ann Sisel
My family has loved exploring Breck Woods since we moved to SAP in 2002. It would be an irrevocable disservice to our communities to let it become developed.
— Kerry Morgan
My nephews spent their childhood playing in Breck Woods and came to appreciate the wildlife and green space. Without it our community will suffer the loss of wildlife as well as good things like oxygen and cooling from this green space. Do not destroy this precious space.
— Carol Haggerty
We have enjoyed regular walks through this area for many years. It is always a treat.
— Virgil Larson
Many fond memories of playing in the woods and along the creek with my friends and our dogs, exploring the old tracks and hobo hovels. Don’t forget that large amounts of water drain through this area from the golf course to Eustis, especially in the spring.
— Roy Harrisville III
It has been 52 years since we were introduced to Breck Woods when we first came to the area. We have appreciated its history, its naturalness, and the freedom to enjoy the feeling of being “out in the woods” while in the middle of the city. It’s a treasure for the community.
— Pam Dragseth
My dad worked at the U from ’64 to ’74 and often on a Saturday he’d come up to the office and bring me along. There was a theater in Coffey Hall where, for a while, they even showed movies on Saturday mornings. But movie or no, we would always take a walk in Breck Woods before heading home. It’s where he first taught me the names of birds and showed me the gradual seasonal changes in a wooded area. He also knew the ancient history and set my imagination alight as I wondered how the Mississippi had moved over millennia. Having traveled and lived around the world, my husband and I settled in SAP near Langford Park and brought our son up on similar walks through Breck Woods, with the added knowledge that as the climate heats every bit of woodland is not a Saturday treat but an absolute necessity. My yard has no grass, only gently tended native shade plants growing under the trees that have been with us since we moved here, with a few more for good measure. It seems that whenever I’m out gardening or sitting out on the little front yard patio under the now towering gingko we inherited, people walking by comment on how beautiful, varied, and inspiring it is. Well, we have my dad and Breck Woods to thank. Please save it. Thank you.
— Mary Berg Boyd-Brent
I have been a resident of SAP since 1955. I used to play army in the woods in the 60s and I hate to say steal a few golfers’ second shots on the 10th hole then run back in the woods. Hunted a few morels and walked about half a dozen different dogs through the years. I would surely miss this place. I was heartbroken when Energy Park was built and when we lost all the pheasants in Breck Woods.
— David “Manny” Comstock
Being in the 4th of July parade!
— Truman Eastman-Loupe
I’M A U OF M PROFESSOR WHO RAISED A DAUGHTER IN SAP AND UNIVERSITY GROVE. GENERATIONS OF SAP AND UNIVERSITY GROVE CHILDREN LEARNED THEIR FIRST LESSONS ABOUT NATURE RUNNING FREE IN THOSE WOODS. I WAS ALWAYS THRILLED TO HEAR MY YOUNG CHILD YELL, AS SHE AND HER FRIEND RAN OUT THE DOOR, “WE’RE GOING TO THE WOODS.” ON RETURN, THEY SHARED THEIR ADVENTURES HOPPING CREEKS, SPOTTING FOX, APPROACHING AS CLOSE AS THEY COULD TO A FAWN. BRECK WOODS IS A MAGICAL PLACE. THERE ARE TOO FEW OF THEM THESE DAYS. LET’S KEEP THIS LITTLE PIECE OF MAGIC PRESERVED FOR OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN.
— Professor Michelle Mason
Great place for wildlife in the city! I’ve seen deer several times.
— Karen Williams
There aren’t many places left in the city where you can walk a few hundred feet and feel like you’re in another world. Breck Woods is one of them.
— Dave Healy
When we first moved to Minnesota with my parents back in 1968 or so, we lived on Folwell Avenue, and our back yard adjoined Breck Woods. Later we lived in Lauderdale and then in SAP. I have wonderful memories of playing in the woods, building forts and treehouses and encountering myriad birds and small animals, as well as the occasional human. It was a great outdoor classroom and an oasis of freedom. I would like to think it could be the same for current and future generations of children.
— Rachel Fang
Around ten years ago I mentioned Breck Woods (though not by name) in an article I wrote for the Pioneer Press. It started off: “My two boys darted up the wooded path pretending to be Indiana Jones, running through the Amazon rainforest.” That captures what we loved about the place. It is a little piece of faux wilderness less than a mile from our house that allowed us to pretend we were in the real wilderness. I’m guessing that as my children got older and were allowed to roam they headed over there on their own too. So, a big thank you to Luther for not doing anything with it for years so we could trespass! I’m not plugged into the specifics of the effort to save it and don’t know if there are plans afoot. If Luther leadership considers preserving Breck’s ecological and recreational value part of the seminary’s mission maybe it would consider a low-ball offer and the community can come up with a way to buy it. Seems like a long shot, but who knows.
— Maja Beckstrom
I have lived near the woods for 41 years. When we moved here I was the mother of a two-year-old, largely bound to the house and familiar routes along the neighborhood sidewalks and streets. One rare day when I found myself “childless” I decided to explore on my own in a different direction. I discovered a pathway leading into a stand of trees and so I stepped inside. I was instantly transported into a different environment entirely. The air was instantly cooler. The pathway led downward and branched off mysteriously in different directions. The trees towered above me and it was largely silent except for bird calls. Fallen tree trunks were decaying where they lay. I was so intrigued! I felt like a kid again, exploring and remembering playing Peter Pan and Robin Hood. I eventually reached a ravine that was a challenge to climb up, but at the top I found a flat pathway, running in a straight line east-west. This was framed by the same towering trees, and silent except for the sounds of nature. As I walked along I found the occasional remnants of what appeared to be railroad ties. Unbeknownst to me, I was walking the old University trolley line. Eventually I came to a concrete stairway. I took the stairs and found myself re-emerging into my neighborhood, a few blocks from my house! I had been in the woods 30-45 minutes. I will never forget my sense of awe and how renewed I felt. The Japanese call it “forest bathing” – simply being in a woods, smelling, hearing, feeling the environment that trees share with each other. They find it enhances health and well-being in measurable ways. I can vouch for that!
— Cynthia Ahlgren
My family lived in St. Anthony Park from the mid-1940s until the early 2000s. Some of my fondest memories as a child are of exploring the Trolley Woods and Breck Woods. Those explorations helped spark my deep interests in nature and the history of St. Anthony Park and St. Paul back to the fur-trading days. This is one of the few natural areas left in the St. Anthony Park/Lauderdale area. Please save it!
— Arne Shulstad
I walk in the Breck Woods once or twice each week and have done so for about 20 years. I take visitors there. I watch birds there. It is a deep source of peace for those of us who live in the city but miss natural areas. We should be able to raise money and convince Luther Seminary to preserve this wetland and woodland. It is even likely that preservation of the woods and wetland as a public resource will increase the value of the adjacent parcels that they are selling. Let’s find the win-win here.
— Ann Juergens
“Watch me Grandpa,” was heard many times over the decades from our two children and five grandchildren, as they proved their climbing and balancing skills. The challenge? Scaling the sides of the Break Woods tench, as we called it, by clinging to the hundred year old roots of trees that provided shade on a hot summer’s day – or protection from a gentling falling snow. Break Woods was to them more friendly and accessible than Minnehaha Falls. It was a cozy but sometimes scary retreat from a hectic suburban life. It is bidding destination to which you can walk or ride a bike.
Breck Woods is like a hidden treasure that one has to experience to appreciate. The mystique of the old railroad bed makes it even better – as does the possibility of seeing a fox, raccoon, deer, turkey – and maybe a cat much larger than the one under your kitchen table. I strongly suggest that the current decision-makers take a small child for that walk – be he or she their own child or a neighbor’s on that adventure – to rediscover than the almighty dollar does not have to trump the love of nature. Taking a grandchild could be the closer for you.
When one really thinks about it – Breck Woods is in the absolute perfect setting: a gem of nature in the middle of a metropolitan area, yet next to the vast open agricultural areas of the University of Minnesota. I can think of nothing that could replace Breck Woods that could possibly fill minds and hearts with positive lasting memories. We adults are here to educate our young – including the appreciation of nature. Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice, is a general statement that explains the ELCA teachings on ecology and the environment. The sale of Breck Woods seems to negate “the understanding of the human role to serve in creation …”. On the other hand, the $21.4 million grant from Waste Management’s previous CEO, could bring the real value of Breck Woods back into focus. I surely hope so. Let us not destroy its legacy!
— Jack and Raita Neely
I spent many pleasant hours walking in the Breck Woods with my dogs, namely Beagle Circe, Dalmation Guy, and finally, Dachshund Maly. In addition to providing the dogs with a chance for exploring and exercise, it was always restorative to me to be in this natural green-space. It was special to us, whatever the season. I think that the value of this space should be preserved for the future welfare and enjoyment of all. Our children only benefit from exposure to woods and waters.
— Andy Banks
I lived and worked in Saint Anthony Park for 20 years. While painting and repairing many homes along Breck Woods, I would be greeted by deer, fox and wild turkeys. The scent and sounds of the wildness was a respite from the everyday clatter of city neighborhoods. Please retain this small area of beauty for people to enjoy for a long time into the future.
— Rosa Bolton
I lived in University Grove from 1957-1977. It was rather an idyllic neighborhood to grow up in. There was a real sense of a home base that didn’t change. Kids were free to roam safely in the common areas and each other’s yards. Integral to this was the trolley tracks and the woods just north of the Grove. If you did not live in that era, it is impossible to now appreciate how much more life there was – plant, animal and insect – and how much has been lost and degraded. I visit these woods – or what’s left – often and value its beauty and peace. I was therefore sickened to learn of its impending demise, all for a developer’s profit! Luther Seminary should feel shame since they supposedly represent “spiritual values,” but I doubt they do. The spiritual value of nature cannot be measured in dollars. We are currently witnessing an orgy of unsustainable development not seen since the urban renewal craze of the early 1960s. We now regret much of this but we let greed have its way and now our architectural heritage is lost forever. In the same way, once the woods are gone it’s forever. Leaving this area for future generations is a gift far more valuable than any development ever could be. I suppose we will have to buy it out to preserve it. I hear that is being worked on but I don’t know the details. I urge you to support that effort any way you can. Contact like minded people and former residents to rally for this cause. Agree with think globally, act locally? This is your chance! We are perched on the edge of an ecological Armageddon. This will not change that but we should be morally compelled to do what we can individually. Thank you.
— Barry Jones
I have wonderful memories of walking my youngest through the Woods to preschool at Luther Seminary. He always talked about how it was just like a fairytale to walk through the Woods to get to school. It’s such a special place!
— Carl Lee
We have lived on Folwell for 10 years and we have had the pleasure of hearing and seeing raptors, foxes, coyotes, and myriad other wildlife amidst the deep and cool green woods out back. Breck Woods is a rare remnant of towering oak grove that we should be protecting and enhancing for everyone’s benefit, not placing up for high density development. We support the citizens, surrounding cities, the University, and Luther Seminary in considering our shared ethical responsibility for this important resource.
— Ellen Demerath
These woods are so special and irreplaceable!!!
— Debby Smith
Breck Woods was a childhood stomping ground of mine, and I’ve had the pleasure of revisiting it more recently with my children. The Woods is home to many animals, and the trees offer a magical respite from everyday urban life for all who visit. I hope the forest of Breck Woods remains a place to explore and investigate nature for all.
— Katie Dean
Sleeping on a midsummer night with windows open nearby, I heard a tree fall in Breck Woods; it was not the snap of a wearily broken back nor the slumping sigh of unhealth but like the merry clatter of a Jenga tower to the family table, scattering forth the creatures and its own particles back to reassembly by Nature. I went to find the fallen friend and a frog jumped into my hand in the last rays of the sun. Long may the forest grow. As sang the harper and the ent: when Summer lies upon the world, and in noon of gold beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold, when woodland halls are green and cool, and wind is in the West, come back to me, come back to me, and say my land is best.
— Matthew Dean
Breck Woods served as a special place for me and my friends as a child. We could retreat into this green world, even though we lived in the middle of a city. We believed Breck Woods to be magical. We used our imagination to make a fallen log into a pirate plank. This place of enchantment that we know as Breck Woods must be saved, not for my memory, but for the next generation who will find their own magic in it.
— Natalie Hoyle Ross
As a student at Luther Seminary in the early 1980s I went out cross country skiing and discovered Breck Woods. It was a mild day with lots of new snow and the quiet and solitude in the middle of a metro area was simply amazing. In the hot crowded planet of our future people will thank everyone who had the vision to retain some natural green space.
— Glen Berg Moberg
I have been visiting Breck Woods for 65 years. I even remember the excitement of riding the trolley. We used to go picnicking, camping and catching butterflies, frogs and snakes. I remember seeing “the big owl,” hawks, deer, muskrats, turtles and red-bellied snakes. It was a fun way for a child to learn about nature, only blocks from my house. We were lucky!
— Jim Larson
I remember riding the streetcar between St Paul and Minneapolis campuses. It went by the “deep, dark” woods. More recently, one October afternoon, a buck paraded up the hill on Hendon, herding a doe in front of him. Please work to save the woods as a resource for animals and memories.
— Carolyn McKay
Our first home was next to Breck Woods. Wonderful memories of nature in the middle of the Metro. It is certainly an area worth saving!!
— Mary and Ed VanEeckhout
We have lived in the Park for 40 years and I have walked in the woods daily for most of those years. It is a sanctuary of awe for me in every season. It is a refuge not just for me but for all who call the woods their home.
— Becky Hirdman
My family has enjoyed the woods for nearly twenty years. It’s an incredibly valuable part of the neighborhood green space. I hope it is preserved.
— Sigrid Ellis
Just moved to the neighborhood and use the trail in Breck Woods to walk to work. Count me in to help in any way I can.
— Susan Seltz
I have enjoyed the woods with my children for 20 years and value it more than some more housing development.
— Robert Beck
Breck Woods is a small haven in a big city. There is nothing thing else like it nearby. Tall trees, running water and wildlife provide the kind of experience and solitude that can otherwise be found only in large preserves and parks outside the city. Please keep it as it is.
— Darryn Kozak
When we took our Cub Scouts to Breck Woods to fulfill one of the badge requirements, many commented about the trails and clearings so many others obviously use. The local Scouts are not the only ones who need a walk in these woods. Students who need a break from study or inspiration benefit and should be considered – especially seminary students!!!
— John Horchner
Breck Woods holds a special place in our hearts as a family. We used to take our dog Dulbin off-leash for long walks through these lovely woods. When he passed away, we decided to sprinkle his ashes along the trails that he loved so much. We jog and walk through the Breck Wood’s trails in all seasons as a family. We love spotting owls’ nests, catching the tail-end of a darting deer, noticing the content ducks in the pond, finding hidden forts built by children, and most importantly, to experience the simple sounds of birds and insects, buffering the background din of traffic coming from Highway 280. We have always treasured this unique little woods right in our neighborhood. It is a reminder for me, when I stand in Breck Woods after a busy day, and look up at the dancing leaves and hear the lively bird orchestra, that our connection to nature should not be, cannot be lost. To lose this land, this unique wildlife, the walking trails and wonderful places to spend time with your family in nature, would be so sad and disheartening. Let’s mobilize to save Breck Woods!
— Paul Sackaroff
I have walked our dogs, hiked with our kids, and run through Breck Woods for 30 years. It is a gem of a spot in the midst of our ever-more-crowded but still beautiful neighborhood. I support preserving the land and will help do this in whatever ways I can. Thank you.
— Elizabeth Lee
Thank you for setting up the website, and pushing these efforts to help
retain a wonderful natural feature of the neighborhood. I live in St
Anthony Park and walk through Breck Woods daily on my commute to work,
and really value the green space that it provides.
— Daniel Stanton
It’s amazing the first time you discover Breck Woods; I’d lived here several years before I knew about it. What a wonderful hidden gem in this wonderful neighborhood, to awaken our joy in discovery and nature. We used to take our Sunday school class there in the winter, to talk about creation. We would spread out so no one could see each other, find a place to hunker down, and just listen.
— Barb Burk
“The Woods” were part of my childhood in the 1960s. It is such a special place and should be preserved for many reasons. Luther, stay a good neighbor and steward of the community.
— Rita Goodrich
I grew up in St. Anthony Park, and my parents (both now deceased) were devoted to the Park. They delighted in taking walks all throughout the Park. They would not want to see Breck Woods developed. I now live in British Columbia, Canada, where we citizens are needing to fight to save our own amazing natural environment from a dangerous oil pipeline. It is vitally important to preserve our green spaces both in cities and outside of cities, including Breck Woods.
— Rita Hedberg
I lived in Lauderdale for 17 years and shared many adventures with my wife and children in Breck Woods. All we had to do is step out our back door and in only a minute we would leave the city behind. I need green space to rejuvenate myself and find peace from the daily stresses. Breck Woods are certainly a great reason to buy a home adjacent to them – any type of development that does not include the woods would certainly not be. Please give careful consideration to the environment and realize how
— Tom Brown
We lived in the house closest to the woods for almost 30 years. There is no place like it in my urban experience. Find a way to care for it, not destroy it.
— Paula Vestermark
Our kids love walking in the Woods. Having this green space close by is such a wonderful thing; I would hate to see it go.
I’ve lived in the Park for over 30 years. When my kids were young, they could experience a small taste of “wild woods” in Breck Woods. Let’s continue to make that a possibility for other children in the future.
— Paul R. Woodward
I know several people whose lives have been wonderfully influenced by this special space. It needs to be preserved for our future generations.
— Ruth Anne Ruud Allen
For ten years my family and I lived in a seminary house on Fulham, where we could take our skis, walk a block and be in Breck Woods. Now we’re a half-mile away but still enjoy walking through. What a treasure — fifteen acres in an urban area! Rejuvenates the soul just to spend a few minutes there. We skied the Woods in the winter and walked there in the summer. Sell it to developers and you’ll get a bunch of buildings. Maybe a parking lot? Sad!
— Michael Rogness, St. Paul
I grew up in St. Anthony Park and have many good memories of exploring, playing, and trail-running in Breck Woods. We need more–not fewer–of these areas to enjoy and observe nature and decompress. Please keep Breck Woods wild, as it should be.
— Julie Hessler
God made the trees and bushes and grasses that make up Breck Woods. It is the part of a school that teaches worship of God to struggle, wherever it can, against smothering over what God has made with bricks, mortar and cement in favor of some typical, unimaginative fiscal policy. Our children romped and played there.
— Roy A. Harrisville
Our family has lived in the neighborhood for 13 years and have taken walks in the woods very often. My kids ride their bikes there to “get away” from the city and spend time enjoying the “wilderness”. My husband grew up in SAP and he and his friends spent endless hours in Breck Woods as well. This is a little bit of paradise in a sea of cement. It needs to remain untouched.
— Sonia Ellis
I have not explored Breck Woods as many of you have, but I have been at the edges of it and feel very strongly about preserving green spaces around us. They are ever more precious now when there is so much human encroachment of existing treasures of nature.
— Dorothy A. Wallevand
My earliest experiences in nature were in Breck Woods. As a child back in the 1960s, my aunt used to take me walking through Breck Woods. The Woods brought all of my senses alive. They smelled so different than the asphalt I normally walked on. The age and height of the trees left me with a sense of wonder about the natural world and my place in it. And because it was an environment I was not used to, it peaked my curiosity and generated a sense of adventure within my small self. No science book can give a child that. Save Breck Woods. There is magic there.
— Sally Grames
We were born in Lauderdale in the 1920s, raised a family here, and still live here. We have fond memories of walking through Breck Woods as teenagers on our way to Murray High School. As parents years later, we took 4-H and Scout groups for nature experiences in Breck Woods. It was the only place around that we had a place for kids to learn about wild animals and plants, and how nature works. Now we have so many apartment buildings in that area and in those apartments are many children. It is vital that they also have a place that they and future generations of area residents can walk in nature, enjoy, and learn from plants, trees, birds, and animals in their native habitat.
As taxpayers we would support purchase of the land, or any measures that would guarantee the protection of Breck Woods.
— Robert and Crystal Wisen
I have lived almost all of my 70 years three blocks or less from the woods. I fail to understand why the Seminary does not feel a call to amend consideration of commercial development on this land. It would be interesting to know what stewardship recognition statements were made when the land was purchased.
— Rich Souther
I grew up near Breck Woods from 1953-1971. I remember walking through rows upon rows of milkweed plants in the fall on the way to the interior of the woods. As children, we would visit the woods often as to explore, build “forts”, drink the water directly from the creek (!), and watch wildlife. For us it was a magical habitat in the middle of the city. We were disappointed when a section of the Woods was taken to build the apartments along Larpenteur. I certainly would hate to see more habitat destroyed to make way for construction.
— Randi Lundell
I have lived in this community for over 20 years. It is lovely, quaint community but things are changing too much and too fast. I walk in Breck Woods almost every day and it is beautiful and calm – wildlife is abundant and the old growth trees keep the woods cool in summer and protected in winter. It is ironic that a place like Luther Seminary, which teaches about God and hopefully love, as well as commitment to taking care of the people and land through God and Jesus, would want to take a chance on developers, who given the chance for a dollar, would destroy such a beautiful and spiritual place. Mind boggling.
— Allyson Lomax
I enjoyed playing in Breck Woods as a child and feel that it offered a unique opportunity for the kids in the area to be able to explore a wooded habitat.
— Rachel Berg
The trails along the trolley track and in Breck Woods are a regular part of my running route in all seasons. In summer I go there for the cooling shade, and in winter I go to get away from the blistering wind. In all seasons the soft earth (or snow) cushion my feet. Whether running or walking, in the Woods I fill my lungs with air cleansed of pollution and filled with the spirit of nature. Woods are nature’s lungs, and we need them especially now that our climate is changing at a terrifyingly rapid pace.
— Lois Braun
Memories of bringing our dogs to the woods to roam and explore. Also, walking the woods and enjoying the natural diversity of the woods is important. It is a tranquil place to escape the hectic life of the cities.
— Art and Judy Payne
I got lucky in 1975. A family brought me home. When the guy who fed me and walked me was in high school, all the neighborhood kids and dogs pretty much lived in Breck Woods. We played Capture the Flag; we had treasure hunts; we built forts; we chased squirrels; they rode bikes; we played Tag; we chased bunnies; they kissed girls; we had rock fights. We did what kids and dogs normally do in the woods when the big people aren’t paying attention. The trolley tracks were the best. On one side it was wild. Except for the houses. Don’t poop by the houses. On the other side, it was wild. Except for the golf course. Don’t poop by the golf course. I was eight years old when I got to go to Breck Woods the first time. Lots of kids and dogs don’t ever get to go to places like Breck Woods. I’m glad I did.
— Elias and Sammy D. Dog
When I was a kid, I couldn’t have a dog. But my friends could. All my friends’ dogs loved Breck Woods. So did all my friends and me. We built forts there, played games there, created our own little worlds there. We were lucky to have such a place to call our own. It wasn’t what made me who I am or anyone else who they are. Not exclusively, But without Breck Woods, who knows what would have happened. — James Michaels
This is one of best places in the area. It makes the area special in a way that is hard to find in the Cities. We enjoy it almost everyday, whether it’s running through the paths or walking the woods with my dogs.
— Devin Arenz
I lived on Fulham Street for 22 years. I used to walk my dog in Breck Woods. It was a wonderful, beautiful area to walk in, in the middle of the city. It always felt as though we were miles from a big city. So peaceful and beautiful! I feel strongly that it is very important to retain green spaces in our cities. I agree with what has been written about preserving this precious area for all creatures, including humans.
— Solveig Storhoff
I grew up two blocks from there since 1976. We always enjoyed being outside and the natural elements of Breck Woods. Please make our Woods a park, not another statistic.
— Paula Johnson Kennedy
I’m in my sixties now, and may never again set foot in our Boundary Waters Wilderness. It gives me joy to know it’s still there and that others will be able to immerse themselves, as I have, in its beauty – yet my connection to nature is now smaller and more urban. I still delight in birdsong and critter tracks in the snow. The sounds and smells of a wood, (even a smallish wood) are a restorative tonic to me when I feel depleted by the work of civilization . Let’s find a way to keep this little bit of urban oasis we still have. Muir said that in the work to save the wilderness “when you win, you win for today, but when you lose, you lose forever” or words to that point.
— Wendy Ward
Thank you for your efforts to preserve Breck Woods. Growing up in St. Anthony Park, Breck Woods was a favorite place to explore and enjoy. My best memories are of collecting insects there as a hobby, eventually doing so for Mr. Ritter’s sophomore biology class at Murray. (I got an A!) I especially loved all the swallowtail butterflies. I was saddened when much of the Woods were cleared to build seminary married student housing (where I actually lived for one year) and now sincerely hope the remainder can be preserved.
— Timothy Thorstenson
I’ve known Breck Woods since 1973 when I was seminary student and I’d cross country ski with friends through it, the old streetcar line and the golf course. Since coming back to the neighborhood in 1993, it’s been mostly about walking dogs through the woods – Mark, Bridgette, Sunny and currently Jazz-Minnie. This means I’ve been through those woods thousands of times and I never cease to wonder about it’s raw, untamed character. There’s a lot that goes on there – the high ridges from the old banks of the Mississippi, the wetlands with the creek. I’ve seen the consequences of big rains and erosions. I’ve seen the seeping of springs. The organic aliveness goes on winter and summer. It really is a nice solace from the grimy black streets of winter. Finally, the woods have been so important to me to teach our grandkids creativity and adventure. The woods are deep and mysterious – something that is a gift to kids of all ages to open up their minds and imagination.
— Don Hauge
I grew up in the Grove and played with friends and my Campfire Girls group in the Trolley and Breck Woods. I particularly remember playing hide and seek in the grassy areas, pulling down the dry fall grasses as the perfect hiding place. Years later, I had the chance to work at the U of MN, move back and raise two kids in the neighborhood; so they, too, were able to built forts and explore. The woods are a precious and magical place and a corridor for wildlife. I hope they can be saved for the plants, animals, and bees and other insects as well as for future generations of children.
— Sarah C. Chambers
I often go for walks in these woods I think it would be tragic if they were to be taken away.
— Geoffrey Peterson
Bald eagles, fox, ducks!!! So many beautiful creatures call this area home!
— Jessica Mohn
Those woods were such an integral part of my childhood so many years ago. I grew up in the University Grove, and back when I was growing up I pretty much took the woods for granted. I could literally go out our back door, go down the bank onto the old trolley rail grade, and walk into the woods. I took it for granted back then, but now I can see that the myriad of everyday experiences I had there would give me such a special affection for nature. Golden memories of every sort of woodland birds, little cottontail rabbits, and an occasional deer encountered in the woods will never leave me. One thing in particular made a deep impression on me: back then, over 60 years ago, there was a clearing in those woods, a meadow of sorts, which I likened to call “Monarch Hill.” That’s because this meadow, bounded by small stands of sumac, was filled with milkweed plants – the essential nourishment for Monarch Butterflies. I can recall observing the entire life cycle of these marvelous and beautiful creatures take place right there before my eyes…egg to caterpillar, then chrysalis and on to their emergence as butterfly, soon to fly up and away. That was a long time ago. Maybe the milkweeds are gone, maybe not. But they could be restored and preserved – a green space such as Breck Woods is such a rare gift of nature. What’s left of it needs to be preserved for all.
— John M. Koelsch
Growing up in “The Park,” even though I never went “into the woods,” this lovely, natural habitat was where we were sent by our parents and teachers to capture amazing insects and gather beautiful leaves for our collections, especially the ones assigned by Mr. Ritter, Murray biology teacher and football coach, who must have known the value of this (city) ecosystem back in the 1950s. This little spot of the world has left me with fond memories, not to speak of a reverence for nature and its conservation. Combined with the accessible educational opportunities of its location, I hope the Woods can be saved and preserved for the health and enjoyment of future generations.
— Sally Thorstenson Nelson
I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 17 years. Before kids, I walked in Breck Woods every day with my dog. His ashes are scattered throughout Breck Woods because it was his favorite place, and one of my favorite places to be with him. Once my first child came along, I strapped her to my back and still, tried to make it there nearly every day with the dog. The second child made it a bit harder to get there, but we still made it as often as possible. What kind of impact has that woods had on my kids, dog and myself? It’s hard to quantify, but I feel that it is huge.
Now, the kids are 11 and 14 and my daughter is interested in becoming a naturalist when she gets older. Where have we gone to practice plant, tree, insect and bird identification? Breck Woods! It is our outdoor classroom. I homeschool my kids, and for Biology this fall we traipsed to Breck Woods for the chapter one lab on “plot studies and diversity”. Each kid picked a 2 meter by 2 meter spot, temporarily roped it off, and spent the morning learning about, and recording what lives there. I was snapping photos of the gorgeous mushrooms, while the kids exclaimed about how much fun they were having and that Biology this year was going to rock! They were impressed and excited by what they saw.
There are so many things we love about living in St. Anthony Park, and having access to Breck Woods is at the top of that list. It is the one place we can walk to and feel immersed in nature. It has been a tonic for all four of us, and the dogs. For our collective well-being, we need these remaining wild places.
— Amy Dailey
I love walking back there with my kids.
— James Gambucci
Kathy and I have lived at 1646 Rosehill Circle, Lauderdale for over 4 years and we overlook the ravine which runs through Breck Woods. We have often seen deer, rabbits, red tail hawks, a coyote, pileated woodpeckers, owls and more wildlife. We enjoy seeing ducks on the pond through the summer as we walk through the woods. Losing the woods would be a major loss. Thank you for your activism to save this gift of nature.
— Brian and Kathy Backberg
I was 10 years old when the Grove became home, and it remains so for my folks. For years, the Breck Woods was an “other place” of creativity, mystery, adventure, and experiment turned outwards…and in its limitlessness at the time, this simple place helped to form my thinking and my practice. That landform and arbor, slopes and shade, dapple and flowage can and does inform “place-making” is at the root of my design work….sympathy for land and empathy for life in and on it , starts young, in places like Breck Woods. These values are important universally and such engagements in contrast and comparability should remain opportunity – especially for the young and impressionable. Small islands of independence and communion, neighborhood woods like Breck provide chance encounters with lives bigger than our own, on so many levels. What could possibly matter more?
— Cheryl Fosdick
I remember going to the Woods with my grandmother to have a picnic in the summer. It was always a special time. We would also go there in the spring to pick pussy willows. To preserve the woods is more important than profit. Money comes and goes, but once the Woods are lost they are gone forever.
— Nancy Nelson
I lived in St. Anthony Park for 12 years and ran the Breck Woods stretch (the ravine) every day. Also watched for bird migrations there. What a treasure that land is! I would be sick if this sanctuary altered and destroyed.
— Judy Ogren
I love Breck Woods. It is old and venerable and was there long before you developers were.
— Anna Rose Benson
We both rode the trolley in the Woods for many years, and always enjoyed the journey. It is truly a treasured place.
— Joyce and Judy Tester
We live in SAP with our preschool daughter and love to walk the trails with her. It’s the only significant walkable forest in the area and a very lively plant and animal habitat; it would be such a mistake to destroy it. The urban wildness of Breck Woods is part of what makes this neighborhood special. Any developer building on it would ruin the very thing that makes it a desirable location.
— Megan Haugo
For years I’ve skied and walked in the woods. It’s not a big space, but it’s the only woods like it for miles around. Look at a heat map of the area. The green space near the golf course is a woods, the only woods you’ll see on the map. It’s a treasure for many of us!
— Michael Rogness
I grew up in St. Anthony Park. For the past 20 years my husband and I (and three children) have lived in the house that I grew up in. St. Anthony Park is special for several reasons. One is that it has the feeling of a small town (my husband grew up in a town of 200 so he knows). The diversity of the housing in the area. And the item that think is most important is the green space that St. Anthony Park is blessed to have within its limits. Break Woods is a very special area for its natural habitat for birds and wildlife. I remember as a child spending lots of time in Breck Woods. In elementary school we had a science assignment to pick an area to observe. I picked a spot in Breck Woods where I picked two trees to observe through the fall season. That was some 50 years ago and I still clearly remember it. Obviously I knew then as I do now how important Breck Woods is to St. Anthony Park, the city of St. Paul and Minnesota. I am crushed every time I see some green space in St. Anthony Park disappear. I truly pray that Breck Woods can be saved.
— Joan Hunt Abbas