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Marshall honored with trail rest area

Bruce Blair stacks limestone Wednesday for retaining walls at the new Marshall Memorial Rest Area he designed on the Cannon Valley Trail. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)

People following the Cannon Valley Trail near Welch may encounter some commotion this weekend as crews continue to work on the Marshall Memorial Rest Area.

The project will renovate a rest area along Belle Creek about a mile southeast of Welch Village. It calls for a set of stairs and a ramp leading down from the trail to a plaza overlooking the creek.

“The view is great,” said project manager and designer Bruce Blair, who has been working on construction for the past couple weeks with trail staff and volunteers.

The design features stone retaining walls made out of limestone and river rock, which Blair said were chosen to mimic the local geology. Rocks are being placed in a series of wire baskets to help withstand flooding and shifting as the walls settle.

Trail legacy

The memorial is named in honor of late Republican Eagle publisher Albert Marshall and wife Elizabeth Marshall, who were both strong supporters of parks and trails.

Albert Marshall was instrumental in getting the Cannon Valley Trail in Red Wing, said Charles Richardson, chairman of the Trail Board. “He brought that idea to the people of Red Wing and it took hold.”

The idea for a memorial on the trail came about following Elizabeth Marshall’s death in 2005, but it was pushed back for various reasons until now, he added.

Blair said permits for the project were secured starting this summer with approval by Vasa Township, Goodhue County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

When completed, it will provide seating for trail goers as well as a fire pit for cross-country skiers during the winter months, he said.

The project also includes erosion control measures to prevent the creek from encroaching on the area. Rocks were stacked on the bank to reinforce the shoreline and keep water flowing under a nearby bridge. 

Blair said there is talk of integrating metal railroad artifacts into the retaining walls for an added visual and historic element, but a final decision has yet to be made.

The bulk of the construction is expected to be finished in about three weeks depending on the weather, he said, but some final concrete pouring may have to be held over until next year.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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