The Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) was listed in 2005 as one of the worst places on earth by SPROL.com. Construction on Twin Cities AAP began in August 1941, and production started in February 1942. During WW II, the plant produced more than 4 billion rounds of ammunition. From 1950 to 1957, 3.5 billion rounds of small arms ammunition, 3.2 million 195-mm artillery shell metal parts, and 715,000 155-mm shell metal parts were produced. The plant was placed on layaway status in several stages from 1971 to 1974. It is now inactive. Decontamination of the site began in 2001.
The rolling terrain of the 2,370-acre Army ammunition plant provides wildlife habitat and welcome relief from the development in the rest of Ramsey County. The site is one of the largest in a series of habitats strung like gems on a green thread that stretches from the Mississippi River via the Rice Creek corridor to a northerly chain of lakes, almost reaching the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area. Preserving large habitats and wildlife travel corridors between them is critical to conserving the biological richness of species.
Approximately 1,700 acres on TCAAP consist of significant natural resources, including 188 acres of forest, 120 acres of glacial kame, 338 acres of prairie complex, the 560-acre Marsden Lake wetland, the 12-acre Sunfish Lake, and ¾ of a mile stretch of Rice Creek. The Minnesota DNR, the Audubon Society, the University of Minnesota, and other local organizations have volunteered expertise and time for wildlife management at TCAAP. Projects include prairie restoration, a bluebird recovery program, a wood duck nesting program, walleye rearing in Sunfish Lake, and deer herd management. After the reintroduction of trumpeter swans to Marsden Lake, TCAAP became the first Ramsey County site in 150 years where new swans were born.
The Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) is a 2,300 acres site located in Ramsey County, Minnesota. Ramsey County has the highest population density of any county in the state, it also has the lowest per capita amount of open space recreational land and wildlife habitat. Just one park in Hennepin County has nearly as much open space as that currently available in all of Ramsey County.
In August 2006, the city of Arden Hills (where we live) submitted an offer to purchase to the Federal government for 585 acres of excess property on the Twin Cities Army Ammunition site. Presently, the city is awaiting congressional acceptance of the offer to purchase.
On Monday, June 16, 2008, Ramsey County hosted the grand opening of the Rice Creek North Regional Trail section through the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant (TCAAP) property. With the trail construction, people will be able to hike/bike a 2-mile trail or paddle the creek through an area that has been off limits since TCAAP was established in the early 1940s. The property, consisting of 113 acres, was transferred at no cost to Ramsey County from the National Park Service (NPS) Federal Lands to Parks Program.
On Sunday, Tina and I walked the new path and found 26 species of birds including 5 Osprey, a Bald Eagle, an Indigo Bunting and 2 Baltimore Orioles. This should become one of our new favorite places in the Twin Cities and the entrance of the path is only 1 mile from my kids home. A great place to teach bike riding to a 4 year old.