When the City was founded and platted by Henry Castle in 1887 several acres of land were set aside for open space to provide for those purposes.
Today, North St. Paul may only be 3.1 square miles yet it boasts a total of 14 parks, three nature preserves, the highly popular Gateway State Trail, and two recreational lakes - Casey Lake and Silver Lake. The City parks system ranges from smaller neighborhood parks to regional destinations, like Casey Lake and Silver Lake Parks, the McKnight Field Complex for baseball and softball, and the breathtaking Veteran's Park. Southwood Nature Preserve and the Urban Ecology Center are active native landscape and wetland restoration projects in partnership between the City, City volunteers, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District and other agency partners. These areas provide hikers with more passive recreational opportunities as well as an opportunity to enjoy nature in a very urban setting.
The City has also partnered with North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Rotary Club to create Rotary Park, a wayside rest area with picnic shelters for bikers and walkers along the Gateway State Trail.
The abundance of parks in North St. Paul provide a multitude of recreational opportunities for citizens and visitors alike, regardless of age or ability. People value the time they spend in city parks, whether walking a dog, playing basketball, or having a picnic. Parks can also provide measurable health benefits, from providing direct contact with nature and a cleaner environment, to walking or jogging, or participating in a team sport, to climbing on playground structures. Our parks also provide an environment for community engagement.