Phalen Creek historically flowed from the south end of Lake Phalen, meandering for about four miles through what is now the East Side of St. Paul, emptying into the Mississippi River near Wakan Tipi cave. This creek served as a corridor for the Dakota people who lived here. By the 1930’s, the creek was driven entirely underground in a large storm pipe to make way for housing and other development.
Wakan Tipi Awanyankapi (Wakan Tipi), formerly Lower Phalen Creek Project began engaging the community to bring the creek back above ground, a process called "daylighting". The benefits to daylighting include:
- Improved water quality
- Improved local ecosystems
- Creation of Aquatic Habitat
- Storm Water Management
- Connecting People to Nature
In 2020, Wakan Tipi conduct a detailed feasibility study and design recommendations for Daylighting Phalen Creek along Phalen Blvd. After decades of research and advocacy, Wakan Tipi has been recommended for $3.3 million from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. The funding will support work to daylight 1/4-mile stretch of Phalen Creek as it flows from the southern end of Lake Phalen.