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A new reason to visit Rune Stone Park

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place for the new visitor center at Kensington Rune Stone Park Wednesday afternoon. Taking part in the ceremony included (left to right) Dave Robley, Douglas County Public Works; Jim Stratton (behind Robley), Jerry Rapp and Owen Miller, Douglas County comissioners; Brad Bonk, Douglas County Public Works; Todd Emmons, Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador; Keith Englund and Charlie Meyer, Douglas County commissioners. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)1 / 4
Outside the interpretive room at the new visitor center at Kensington Rune Stone Park is a sliding barn door with runic letters on the top, bottom and within a drawing of a dragon. The top of the door reads "Kensington Rune Stone Park." Inside the interpretive center, a key allows visitors to decipher the rest of the runic letters. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 2 / 4
A map hanging in the new visitor center at the Kensington Rune Stone Park indicates where all the trails are within the park's boundary, along with where people can sled in the winter and have picnics in the summer. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 3 / 4
The new Kensington Rune Stone Park visitor center includes space for events such as family reunions, wedding receptions, meetings and more. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 4 / 4

A ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for the new visitor center at Kensington Rune Stone Park took place Wednesday, Jan. 3. Douglas County commissioners, representatives from Douglas County Public Works, the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and others attended the event.

The bulk of the $1 million project – $802,400 – was funded by Minnesota's Legacy amendment, which provides grants through the state’s parks and trails fund. The other $200,000 was provided by Douglas County.

The visitor's center includes a community room, lobby, interpretive room, outdoor patio, bathrooms and more.

Did you know?

Here are some fun facts about the new visitor center:

• There is a replica of the Kensington Runestone inside the visitor center, but the actual Runestone is made of metagraywacke rock, which is the same type of rock that was used to construct the fireplace inside the center.

• The bench inside the lobby is made of Douglas fir and weighs in at more than 700 pounds.

• More than 380 tons of concrete were used in the building construction with the exterior walls 15 inches thick.

• More than a mile and a half of dimensional lumber was used for the building frame.

• The expansive south facing windows allow the building to use passive solar heating in the winter.

Kensington Rune Stone Park

The visitor center at the Kensington Rune Stone Park, 8956 County Road 103 Southwest, Kensington, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the community room can be reserved for special events. Call the Douglas County Public Works office to make a reservation, 320-762-2999.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. She enjoys running and has participated in nearly 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon distances.

(320) 763-1242