SNA Nature Notes - Summer 2012

Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas header

Summer 2012

Photo of new site design

New SNA Web Page Designs "Go Live"

If you’ve looked at your favorite SNA on the web lately you’ll have noticed the page looks quite a bit different. In mid-May the switch to a new design was made to feature a slide show of large images, new interactive maps, and a list of recreational uses with visitor notes. If you haven’t seen them yet, take a look on the A-Z list or the new statewide clickable map. We hope these new pages are helpful as you explore these special places online. If you have suggestions for continued improvements, we would be happy to hear from you, so contact us at


Photo of Greenwater Lake SNA

A Hike Around Greenwater Lake SNA

As told by Ruth Bergquist, site steward at Greenwater Lake SNA.

The Laurentian Lakes Chapter of the North Country Trail Association sponsored a trail hike April 28th, 2012 at Greenwater Lake SNA. It was especially pleasing to me that 17 people showed up. The weather forecast was for rainy, windy and not very warm conditions.

After introductions and rules of the SNA, we started the hike. I told the group my personal history of Greenwater. As early as mid-1940's me and friends would walk to Greenwater from Round Lake (about 5 miles) to spend the day in our special "wilderness" area. Others would hunt grouse and deer during season. Sometime during the 1970's when the property was up for sale, a friend of my husband approached us to join a group that would invest in a venture to buy and develop the property. I did not want the place to be developed! I made a list of plants and animals known to me that existed there and contacted Nature Conservancy to see if they would be interested in acquiring the property. Fortunately they replied and said the State was hoping to negotiate purchase and the site was eventually dedicated as an SNA. Wonderful! My family members love to cross-country ski and hike in the Greenwater woods still today.

Individuals within the group were very much tuned in to plants and wildlife which enhanced what we saw along the way. We saw wolf scat, wildflowers including hepatica, bellwort, ginger, meadow rue, anenome, trillium, yew, ferns, and several tree species. Tree nest cavities were discovered, tree burls, wood ducks, osprey, blooming red maple and a bonus was the eagle circling us and then landing in its nest. We left that area quickly! Also the series of beaver dams was of interest and a place where the group lingered to look at everything.

It was a good hike.



Photo of Lester Lake Forest SNA

Site Highlight: Lester Lake Forest SNA

It is time to celebrate! Lester Lake Forest SNA officially became a Scientific and Natural Area on June 28th, 2010. The formal dedication for the site is set for June 30th, 2012 to recognize the partnerships and the biologically significant native plant communities that have been preserved here. Lester Lake Forest SNA is a one-of-a-kind combination of a Scientific and Natural Area and an Aquatic Management Area. It contains a 70-acre lake, with a completely undeveloped shoreline. If you would like to attend the dedication see our events calendar for more details.



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Notes from Site Stewards

The SNA Program has been focusing energy on reinvigorating and growing our “green swarm” of site stewards. As spring melds into summer, observation reports are rolling in. Here are a few interesting notes from a few of them:

  • Joel Dunnette, reported on April 9th that willows that were cut a couple years ago at Iron Horse Prairie SNA have regrown to about 8 feet tall. He also noted the white lady’s slippers were not very showy this year.
  • Seed collection has already started at Hastings Sand Coulee SNA, where site steward Deb Jahnke collected prairie smoke on June 3rd.
  • On June 6th harebell, prairie phlox (shown above), hoary puccoon, wild geranium, and more were photographed in bloom at Ripley Esker SNA by site stewards Ray and Mary Nelson.

Thanks stewards for submitting those reports, and keep them coming!



Photo of volunteers removing invasive species

Upcoming SNA Events

Summer is great time to get out and enjoy an SNA, and with a number of projects and some fun guided hikes, you will be sure to find a something to suit your interests. If you haven’t been out on an event for a while consider a one of the following. A full list is available on the SNA Volunteer web page, so check it out!



Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA

Explore Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA


Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Volunteer Project: Invasive Removal


Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Volunteer Project: Invasive Removal, Seed Collection




Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).