The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area protects a 72-mile (116 km) and 54,000-acre (22,000 ha) corridor along the Mississippi River from the cities of Dayton and Ramsey, Minnesota to just downstream of Hastings, Minnesota. This includes the stretch of Mississippi River which flows through Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. This stretch of the upper Mississippi River includes natural, historical, recreational, cultural, scenic, scientific, and economic resources of national significance. This is the only national park dedicated exclusively to the Mississippi River. It is located in parts of Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties, all within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is a long name and therefore is frequently referred to as MNRRA (often pronounced like "minnra") or MISS (the four letter code assigned to the park by the National Park Service).The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MISS) was established in 1988 as a new unique type of National Park known as a partnership park. Unlike traditional national parks, MISS is not a major land owner and therefore does not have control over land use. MISS works with dozens of "partners" (local, state, and federal governments, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals) who own land along the river or who have an interest in the Mississippi River to achieve the National Park Service's mission to protect and preserve for future generations.
Some of the most prominent attractions within the park include the St. Anthony Falls Historic District (including Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater, the Stone Arch Bridge, and Mill Ruins Park), the Historic Fort Snelling and the adjacent Fort Snelling State Park, and Minnehaha Falls. There are many additional attractions, trails, and programs all within the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area.The Mississippi River Visitor Center, located inside the Science Museum of Minnesota, is staffed by National Park Rangers who are available daily to help people who want to experience the Mississippi River.Each year, the rangers manage community activities such as interpretive sessions, bike rides, and movies, that help to educate the local community about the natural and human history of the area.