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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Foot Bridge At Visitors Center
Mississippi River Trail Crossing
Itasca State Park, MN

Foot Bridge At Visitors Center

• Location: River Mile 1346.9
• River Elevation: 1,474 Feet
• County: Clearwater
• Bridge Type: Wood Truss
• Bridge Length:
• Bridge Width: 12 Feet
• Height Above Water: 5 Feet (Estimated)
• Date Opened: August, 2005
This is the new foot bridge leading between the Mary Gibbs Visitor Center and the headwaters area. It is built from several prestressed timber arches, the only timber arch bridge that crosses the Mississippi River. Steps leading down to the river channel allow the adventurous to cross the river on foot, something that isn't all that difficult to do given the narrow and shallow channel. This bridge replaced a 1966 log beam bridge.

Mary Gibbs became park commissioner in 1903 at the age of 24. She was picked for the job when her father, the previous park manager, passed away. At the time when Gibbs took over management of the park, a logging company was building a large dam just down stream. They planned to form a large logging pool, and cut down all the old growth trees. Gibbs thought that the headwaters area should be preserved as-is for future generations to enjoy. Gibbs went to the dam site and had a confrontation with the dam manager. The lumber company managers arrived armed, then threatened to shoot anyone who opposed the dam. After a brief impasse, Gibbs prevailed, and the park was saved from destruction. Gibbs resigned only 3 months later, and moved to western Canada where she lived to be 104. Her courageous stand was an early victory for environmentalists.


Foot Bridge At Visitors Center
The photo above is a view of the bridge from the visitor center side of the river. The photo below is a view from the headwaters side of the river, looking back towards the visitor center. The photo at the top of the page is taken from the east side of the river looking across the river towards the visitor center. The bottom of the river is easy to see despite the water being cloudy.

Foot Bridge At Visitors Center

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