The Minnesota State Parks Include One Of The
Most Photographed Lighthouses In The Country
There are sixty seven State Parks in Minnesota as well as twenty two state trails, eight state waysides and seven state recreation areas.
This adds up to a massive 267,000 acres of land and it all comes under the control of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
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The system of State Parks in Minnesota is the second oldest in the country after New York`s.
The first of the state parks in Minnesota dates back as far as 1891 when Itasca State Park was created.
It is in this park, at Lake Itasca, that the Mississippi River has its origins. The lake is a National Natural Landmark and the whole park is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lake Itasca Is The Source Of The Mississippi River
The name for Minnesota comes from the Dakota Native American tribe and can be translated as "sky-tinted water" which is what they called the Minnesota River.
Apart from Alaska, Minnesota is the most northerly of the American states as it has a small portion lying north of the 49th parallel.
The state is sometimes known as the "Land of A Thousand Lakes" and large numbers of the Minnesota State Parks have lakes as their centerpiece.
Indeed Father Hennepin State Park is actually situated on Mille Lacs Lake which translated from the French means Thousand Lakes Lake.
Minnesota is part of the Great Lakes Region and has a shoreline on Lake Superior. Eight of the state parks in Minnesota are to be found here and they include Cascade River State Park, which has over ten miles of shore, Gooseberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. The lighthouse here is a National Historic Landmark and is among the most photographed lighthouses in the country.
The Light At Split Rock Lighthouse State Park On Lake Superior
The last park in the system to be opened was Lake Vermilion State Park in 2010 and with its opening the Department of Natural Resources achieved its aim of having a state park within fifty miles of every resident in the state.
Minnesota has four distinct ecological regions. In the west and south-west is an area of prairie grassland and examples of the Minnesota state parks found on this type of land are Buffalo River State Park and Glacial Lakes State Park.
In the south are Broadleaf Forests which then extend in a narrow band right up into the north-west of the state where they then transition into an area described as Tallgrass Aspen Parkland.
Parks in the forest region are Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park and Myre-Big Island State Park while Lake Bronson State Park is in the parkland area.
The fourth of the regions is called Laurentian Mixed Forest and this is located in the very north of Minnesota. These forest are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce interspersed with stands of birch and poplar.
Minnesota state parks to be found in these north woods include George H.Crosby Manitou State Park, Jay Cooke State Park and Bear Head Lake State Park.
The Minnesota North Woods In Fall
Like every one of the American states, the state parks in Minnesota are all situated in stunning locations and are individually extremely interesting.
However, there are some very unique parks to be found. For example, Charles A.Lindbergh State Park showcases the restored home of where the famous aviator lived with his father. There is also Lac Qui Parle which attracts so many migrating waterfowl that it is easy to see how it gets its name - the "Lake That Speaks."
Two other unique Minnesota State Parks are Soudan Underground Mine State Park which conducts tours around the deepest and richest iron ore mine in the state and the other is Grand Portage State Park, which is the only park in the whole country to be run in collaboration with an Indian Reservation.
And here are their positions indicated on a map of Minnesota -