Herald JournalHerald Journal, August 30, 2004

Some old-fashioned peace and quiet at Albright's Mill

By Darla Swanson

Perhaps it is the loud dry rattle of the Belted Kingfisher, the squawk of the Great Blue Heron as it lands on the bank of the gently flowing river, or the rustle of the leaves as a gentle breeze blows through the giant elm trees.

Or maybe it is all that Albright’s Mill county park has to offer the soul searching for a place of peace.

Nestled in nature, the Albright’s Mill park offers a bit of solitude amid a busy world.

The Albright’s Mill county park is one of seven river systems in Wright County along the North fork of the Crow River. It is located in Middleville Township four miles north of highway 12 on Wright County Road 5 northwest of Howard Lake.

The Americanized name “Albright” actually came from a German man named Herman Albrecht, who built a grist mill on the river (where the park now stands) in 1879.

The location became a small town, complete with a general store, a blacksmith shop, a creamery, and several homes. The mill suffered a fire of unknown origin and burned down.

The town did not last for many years and none of the old structures remain. The river, which was once dammed at the location, now flows freely without even a hint of the old town history.

The park was established in the early 1960s and is managed by the Wright County Parks Department.

Park Administrator Marc Mattice describes the park as a place for rest, relaxation, and solitude, a place to get away, “enjoy a picnic lunch and spend time with family.”

He also added that folks who do use the park tend to keep it clean. “Upkeep is very minimal there . . . we don’t seem to have too many problems,” he said.

The use of the park is not limited to picnics.

Although there are no scheduled events there, it is available for weddings and other family events. A permit from the parks department is required. Permits are also available for camping at the park, typically for campers on a canoe trip up the Crow River looking to pitch a tent for the night.

Park facilities include canoe access, running water, restrooms, and picnic tables. Shore fishing may even bring in a fresh catch for supper.

People interested in a canoe trip on the North Branch of the Crow River may obtain a map through the parks department.

The route runs west to east beginning at Betty T. Mason Park north of Cokato and ending at Riverside Park near Hanover. The trip passes through the Albright’s Mill Park along the way, a perfect place to pitch a tent for the night.

Whether folks arrive at the park by car or by canoe they can plan on achieving the same result from their stay – relaxation!

The wooded trails hold no prejudice and welcome everyone who walks along the river path in hopes of spotting a white-tailed deer, a wild turkey, or a few of the many songbirds that migrate through the area.

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