Presentation on theme: "Explore Minnesota *One atlas page at a time"— Presentation transcript:
1Explore Minnesota *One atlas page at a time Mary BennettMN GeographyCoon Rapids, 2011
2We are starting on page 37 of the new atlas with Lutsen We are starting on page 37 of the new atlas with Lutsen. Lutsen is a township located on the shores of Lake Superior.
3Charles Axel Nelson emigrated from Sweden to Duluth at the age of 18 Charles Axel Nelson emigrated from Sweden to Duluth at the age of 18. He married Anna Peterson, also a Swedish native. He worked as a captain of a fishing tug casting his nets near the rivers along the North Shore. His favorite place to cast was the cove at the mouth of the Poplar River. In 1885 he filed for a homestead of 160 acres at the mouth of the Poplar River. It cost him $12.00!Visitors to the region seeking shelter soon discovered hospitality at the Nelson home. New settlers to the region, such as hunters, fisherman, mineral explorers, loggers and timer “cruisers” arrived by boat, wagon, sleigh, horseback, dog team, or even on foot. This was the very beginnings of the Lutsen Lodge and Resort as we know it today.
4Besides the Lutsen Lodge and Resort, there is also the Lutsen Mountains. Lutsen’s Sawtooth Mountain Park is tucked into the ancient Sawtooth Mountain Range that anchors the coast of Lake Superior along North Shore. Unique in the Midwest, this is a true mountain range, born of volcanic uprising millions of years ago which form the dramatic escarpments and rugged terrain that now loom 1000 feet above the coastline. The Sawtooth Mountain Park at Lutsen sprawls across roughly 1000 acres.In the summer there is an alpine slide.In the winter there is skiing.
5The Mountain Tram is open in the summer as well as the winter The Mountain Tram is open in the summer as well as the winter. If you take the tram up Moose Mountain, you may be able to see the following:EaglesRuffed GrouseTimber WolvesMooseDeerBearPine Martin
6Just up the road from Lutsen is the 5050 acre Cascade River State Park Just up the road from Lutsen is the 5050 acre Cascade River State Park. Spring, summer, winter or fall, this is a beautiful place to hike, fish, and camp in the summer and cross country ski in the winter.Wildlife: Wildlife abounds in this hilly terrain. Moose, wolves, pine martens, bears, and many other animals have been sighted in this park. Wintering deer converge from the interior to Lake Superior's south facing slope. Here the temperatures are warmer, the snow is not as deep, it is more sheltered from the wind, and the conifers provide food and cover. During the summer months, the area along the North Shore abounds with a variety of birds and hawks. Visitors can enjoy being serenaded by the sweet chorus of warblers and chickadees.History: Years ago, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had a camp at the Cascade River. The men in this camp worked on a variety of conservation projects. Today, you can see some of their handiwork on the trails that wind along the river. One enrollee told how they cut and moved the large pine logs from Cascade down to Gooseberry Falls State Park to finish buildings in that park. From the beginning, Cascade was thought of as a state park, but it wasn't until 1957 that it was officially designated as such.
7Geology: Its geologic history is what really makes the dramatic landscapes of the North Shore and Cascade River State Park. It started 1.1 billion years ago, when the ancient continental bedrock split apart and became covered with molten lava which welled up from below the Earth’s crust. This formed nearly all the bedrock underlying the North Shore, including this park. Soon after this intense volcanism stopped, streams deposited sediment over the lava beds. Much later, starting about 2 million years ago, great glaciers from the north scoured the area several times, leaving the present Lake Superior basin. Erosive forces, especially the rivers and lake waves, are still in action today. The Cascade River, one of the largest of the North Shore rivers, is constantly deepening its gorge as it cuts down through the ancient basalt lava flows.Landscape: Aptly named, the Cascade River flows down one ledge after another for a total drop of 900 feet in the last three miles of its journey to Lake Superior. The park setting is a boreal hardwood-conifer forest of aspen, birch, fir, spruce and cedar. Visitors can stand on the footbridge that spans the river, or at any of the viewing spots above the river, and feel the vibration of the rushing torrent of water as it cascades down a volcanic canyon
8Also located on page 37, is the Superior National Forest, which also encompasses the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) and the Gunflint Trail.Superior National Forest: Three million acres of land, water, tock and trees cover the Superior National Forest which was established in Of this, over 445,000 acres or 695 square miles of the forest is surface water. Pines grow in this area along with aspen spruce and fir trees. Wildlife species include deer, moose, and black bear. This area is also home to Canada lynx, and grey wolf, among others.BWCA: This area was set aside in 1926 to preserve its primitive character and made a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in This area is over 1 million acres in size, it extends nearly 150 miles along the International Boundary adjacent to Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park and is bordered on the west by Voyageurs National Park. The BWCAW contains over 1200 miles of canoe routes, 12 hiking trails and over 2000 designated campsites.
9Gunflint Trail: The original path that has today become the Gunflint Trail was originally an overland footpath used to travel from the inland lakes to the shore of Lake Superior. No one knows precisely when the footpath was established, but we can guess that it was hundreds of years ago, and it was first used by the native Sioux, then Ojibwe who have called this area home for hundreds of years. As more people discovered the recreational possibilities (and natural resources) in this area (and as cars became popular and available), the path was widened to a road in stages. An overland road existed from Grand Marais to the eastern end of Rove Lake in the 1870s (Rove Lake Road) where a trading post was located. The road was extended from Hungry Jack Lake to Poplar Lake to Gunflint Lake and the Cross River from approximately For decades it was a primitive dirt, then gravel road, and it was navigated rather slowly so as not to damage one's car. (Source: Pioneers in the Wilderness by Willis H. Raff, 1981, Cook County Historical Society)
10Visiting the Superior National Forest, BWCA and the Gunflint Trail has been enjoyed by people year round. In the summer, there is camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing, along with many other outdoor activities. In the winter, there is snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.However, in visiting any of these areas, you will need to review if permits are needed, where entry points are, and what type of activities are allowed in the specific areas as well as if there are any restrictions (i.e. burning, etc.).One reason to check for restrictions is that in the evening hours of July 4, 1999, a storm with estimated winds of 90 miles per hour, swept across northern Minnesota. This storm affected approximately 477,000 acres of the Superior National Forest and includes approximately 370,000 acres of the BWCA.
11Located in the BWCA is Minnesota’s highest peak, Eagle Mountain (2301 feet). This is a lengthy hike of 7 miles round –trip. Once you are at the top, on a clear day you can see for miles which include many surround lakes as well as Lake Superior.
12Another hike that is off the Gunflint Trail is the Magnetic Rock Trail Another hike that is off the Gunflint Trail is the Magnetic Rock Trail. This is an easy 3 mile hike. The attraction is there is an iron bearing Magnetic Rock that is about 60 feet with a strong magnetic attraction. It is recommended y the Forest Service to bring your compass to test the magnetism. There are two large rocks on the trail before you get to the Magnetic Rock so don't be fooled by them.
13Winding its way through the map is the North Country National Scenic Trail. This trail is America’s longest National Scenic Trail stretching 4200 miles from New York to North Dakota.
14The Superior Hiking Trail is also on this page The Superior Hiking Trail is also on this page. The Superior Hiking Trail is a 277 mile footpath that largely follows the rocky ridgeline above Lake Superior from Duluth to the Canadian border. The trail is ideal for day hikes as well as backpacking trips.
15Lastly, we cannot forget about Lake Superior Lastly, we cannot forget about Lake Superior. While driving up Highway 61, there are breathtaking views of the lake. Here are some quick facts about Lake Superior:Size: 31,7000 square miles Deepest spot: 1,332 feet Volume: 3 quadrillion gallons Shoreline length: 1,826 miles Elevation: 600 feet above sea level Average water temperature: 40º Fahrenheit Average underwater visibility: 27 feetLake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, and the third largest by volume.Lake Superior holds ten percent of the world’s fresh surface water.Lake Superior has 78 fish species.Lake Superior is the cleanest, clearest and coldest of the Great Lakes.
16One of Lake Superior’s attractions is looking for the Lake Superior Agate. Here are some facts on how to hunt for them:General description: Lake Superior agates are generally shaped as irregular spheres. They are made up of quartz, often reddened by iron and deposited in layers to create concentric circles that look like the rings on the cross section of a tree.Size: Lake Superior agates range from about the size of a pea to up to more than 20 pounds.Color: Red, orange, and yellow, all caused by iron, are the main colors in Lake Superior agates.Formation: The history of Lake Superior agates traces back to about a billion years ago. The North American continent began to split, creating a large rift valley, and lava welled up in the area of what is now Lake Superior. Bubbles of air were trapped in the lava (similar to the way bubbles of air appear in a pan of water before it begins to boil.) After the lava cooled, water seeped into the holes created by the bubbles and deposited iron, quartz, and other minerals in layers, creating agates. As the surrounding volcanic rock was worn away by erosion or the scouring action of glaciers, agates were released from the lava and moved to other places.Types: Rock collectors classify Lake Superior agates according to their appearance. For example, agates that have a cross section showing circles or other shapes repeated in many layers are called fortification agates. The name comes from the fact that the shapes look like the walls of a fortress. The eye agate has circles that look a little bit like eyes on its surface. Moss agates have tree-branch-shaped bits of minerals trapped in them.
17Our next stop is page 29 in the new atlas Our next stop is page 29 in the new atlas. We are starting on the lower left corner of the page in the northwest corner of the White Earth Indian Reservation. The White Earth Reservation contains 829,440 acres and is located in the northwestern Minnesota. The White Earth Reservation is named for the layer of white clay underneath the surface on the western half of the reservation.
18All Indian tribes have names for themselves All Indian tribes have names for themselves. The largest Indian group in Minnesota calls itself Anishinaabe, which means "the original people." Europeans named them Ojibwe. No one is exactly sure how this name developed. Perhaps it came from the Anishinaabe word "ojib," which describes the puckered moccasins worn by the people. Some Europeans had trouble saying Ojibwe, pronouncing it instead as Chippewa. But both these names refer to the same people. In Canada, the Anishinaabe call themselves Ojibwe. In the United States, many tribal members prefer the name Chippewa. So that is the name we will use in this history of White Earth Reservation.
19White Earth Reservation is located in Becker, Clearwater, and Mahnomen counties in north-central Minnesota. Created in 1867 by a treaty between the United States and the Mississippi Band of Chippewa Indians, it is one of seven Chippewa reservations in Minnesota. Although the White Earth Chippewa no longer live as their ancestors did, they have kept alive their tribal heritage. Almost every aspect of their present-day life has been strongly influenced by the past.
20Located in the northwest corner of the reservation is the small town of Bejou, Minnesota. Bejou Township and its railway village received this name, changed in pronunciation and spelling, from the French words Bon jour ("Good day") of the former fur traders and voyageurs. It is the common Ojibwe salutation on meeting friends or even strangers, used like the familiar English and American greeting, "How do you do?" The city in sections 22, 23, 26, and 27, incorporated as a village on January 13, 1921, was created by the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (Soo Line) in 1904 as a railroad village; its post office began in As of the 2000 census, there were 94 people living in Bejou.
21The next town to visit is Red Lake Falls The next town to visit is Red Lake Falls. Red Lake Falls was the site of a North West Company fur post as early as 1796 or 1797, making it one of the oldest sites of European occupation in the State of Minnesota. A French Canadian fur trader, Jean Baptiste Cadotte, the son of the noted British-Canadian fur trader, Alexander Henry, established the post as part of a strategy to ward off Hudson's Bay Company intrusion into the Red River Valley. The famous Canadian explorer, David Thompson, took shelter from a storm in Cadotte's cabin here in March The post was abandoned early in the 1800’s, as British fur traders withdrew from United States territory.The surrounding territory was homesteaded by French-American settlers led by Pierre Bottineau, who were relocating via ox cart from their temporary stopping points in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, Minnesota, in These pioneers were augmented in 1878 by a number of French Canadian settlers from Upper Canada. The area developed as a grain farming region. In 1878, Earnest Buse and his partner, Otto Kankel, established a flour mill at the confluence of the two rivers.The town of Red Lake Falls soon after was platted by Mr. Buse, who then moved on to other environs. (The Kankel family continued as a prominent presence in the town through the 1950’s). The town prospered for a time, as both the Northern Pacific Railway and the Great Northern Railway ran their lines through the town in the 1880’s and early 1890’s (both lines are now abandoned), and when Red Lake County split off from Polk County, in 1896, Red Lake Falls became the county seat of the newly formed county, a reason for existence that persists to the present day. The population peaked shortly afterwards, in 1900, and has been in decline ever since.
22Main Avenue looking NE from 1st Street, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 1890 Red Lake Falls from Kretzschmar Avenue, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, approximately 1880Main Avenue looking NE from 1st Street, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 1890Courthouse, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 1909View from the Courthouse looking south, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, approximately 1910's
23Red Lake County Courthouse, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 2008 Street scene, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 2008Pierre Bottineau Monument, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 2008Pierre Bottineau Monument, Red Lake Falls Minnesota, 2008
24Next is the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge Next is the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge. This is located 6 miles west of Mentor (highlighted in red on the map). The refuge is the green area on the map.
25The nation's 54th national wildlife refuge - Glacial Ridge Refuge in northwest Minnesota - was officially created on October 12, Launched with the donation of a 2,000 acre parcel by the Nature Conservancy, the refuge will eventually cover 35,000 acres, becoming the largest tall grass prairie and wetland restoration project in the United States. This refuge will become a major waterfowl breeding and nesting area. It will provide critical habitat for declining grassland birds, greater prairie chickens, sandhill cranes, as well as the endangered western prairie fringed orchid, among other species.
26Greater Prairie Chicken Glacial Ridge offers an opportunity for The Nature Conservancy and its partners to undertake the largest prairie and wetland restoration project in U.S. history. Only about 5,000 acres are native prairie; the rest has been used for gravel extraction, crop production and cattle and sheep grazing. When restored, the grassland and wetland areas will provide excellent habitat for prairie nesting birds, threatened prairie plants and animals.Greater Prairie Chicken
27Why the Conservancy Selected this Site: The Glacial Ridge Project presents the Conservancy and its partners with an unequaled opportunity to conserve and restore a unique landscape. In October 2004, it was designated as a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge. In addition to its biological importance, the restoration of Glacial Ridge should help improve water quality for the city of Crookston and reduce flooding in the Red River Valley.Habitat fragmentation and invasion by exotic species (non-native plants and animals) are the most significant threats to the project's native biodiversity. The property connects to other wildlife and recreational areas and, when the project is complete, the Nature Conservancy and its partners will have restored more than 8,000 acres of wetlands and about 16,000 acres of Tallgrass Prairie.What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing: The Conservancy purchased the Glacial Ridge Project area in August To date, the Conservancy has restored 173 wetlands and seeded more than 11,000 acres of prairie. Since the acquisition, Conservancy staff have been working with several other conservation partners and restoration biologists on a master restoration plan.
28Natural History:Beach ridges formed from Glacial Lake Agassiz, vegetated with true tallgrass prairie is the heart and soul of the refuge.The ultimate restoration of 8,000 acres of wetlands and 15,000 acres of prairie will complement the existing 5,000 acres of untilled native prairie.The return of the greater prairie chicken will be the star of successRefuge Objectives:Strive to maintain diversity and increase abundance of waterfowl and other migratory bird species dependent of prairie wetland and grassland habitatsConserve, manage, and restore the diversity and viability of native fish, wildlife and plant populations associated with tallgrass prairie and prairie wetlandsWork in partnership with others to restore or enhance native tallgrass prairie, prairie wetlands and unique plant communitiesRestore, enhance, and protect water quality and quantity that approach natural hydrologic functionsProvide for compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses by the public, emphasizing increased understanding of the northern tallgrass prairie ecosystem and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System
29Public Use Opportunities: Wildlife observation and photography highlighted by greater prairie chicken, and migrating waterfowl and sandhill cranesPrairie Chicken viewing blinds, managed in cooperation with the Crookston Chamber of CommerceAnnual Prairie Appreciation Day eventEnvironmental education and interpretationHunting plan approved in 2004Special prairie chicken hunt for people with disabilities initiated in 2008Future Public Use Opportunities:Walking, biking and cross country ski trailsPrairie interpretive trail and kioskInterpretation of historic Pembina Oxcart TrailObservation PlatformsBuffalo observation areaInterpretive centerDeer, migratory bird and upland game hunts for youth and persons with disabilities
30The last stop we will make on this page is Crookston, MN The last stop we will make on this page is Crookston, MN. Crookston has a rich history of being a lumber town as well as being an early transportation hub when oxcarts passed through on their way to St. Paul. Most recently, sugar beets have been a major crop for this area as well as a producer for sunflowers.One place to visit while you are there is Widman’s Candy Shop located downtown, on Broadway. The interior dates back to its earliest years. The same family still runs the place and much of the candy is still home made. Widman’s celebrated 100 years of busniess in January 2011.
31Street in Crookston. Photograph Collection ca. 1870 Broadway, CrookstonAerial View, University of Minnesota Crookston Campus, 1933
32Next we stop on page 80 of the new atlas Next we stop on page 80 of the new atlas. Our first stop is going to be in the upper left corner in the city of Pipestone.
33It was not Horace Greeley's advice, "Go west, young man, and grow up with the country," which brought the first white people to the area in extreme southwestern Minnesota where grasses on the upland prairie stood taller than the average man. It was instead a curiosity gleaned from Native American legends and the folklore surrounding a pipestone quarry that attracted the inquisitive pioneers.George Catlin, an author and popular portrait painter, had heard about the red rock while visiting tribes on the upper Mississippi River in the early 1800's. He was confident that it was different from other known minerals and set out to find it. Reaching the area on horseback, he wrote that he was "crossing one of the most beautiful prairie countries in the world...covered with the richest soil, and furnishes an abundance of good water, which flows from a thousand living springs."As he drew near the quarry he found "great difficulty in approaching, being stopped by several hundred Indians, who ordered us back and threatened us very hard, saying 'that no white man had ever been to it, and that none should ever go.'"Catlin forged ahead, arriving in He recorded, in painting and writing, the Native American's activities at the quarry. Before he left, he collected a sample of the red stone and sent it to Washington, D.C., to be analyzed. The new stone was given the geological name catlinite.
34Pipestone Quarry on the Coteau des Prairies, 1836–37 oil, by George Caitlin
35Charles Bennett, a druggist from Le Mars, Iowa, was also intrigued by the legends of the pipestone quarry. He first traveled there in 1873 with a party of four others. He decided then that it would be the ideal place to establish a town. Previously, settlement of the region had been slowed by territorial disputes between the area's Native Americans and the U.S. government and eventually by the Civil War.Bennett returned in 1874 and, using a load of lumber hauled from Luverne, built the city's first house. The five-foot tall building was only meant to serve as a marker to show passers by that a claim had been made. After the death of his wife and infant son in Le Mars, Bennett asked his friend Daniel Sweet to return and hold his claim site.Bennett moved to Pipestone permanently in A grasshopper plague in 1876 drove some new residents away from the area, but Bennett and Sweet stayed on and platted the township of Pipestone City. New settlers arrived and by 1878, Pipestone was a small but thriving trade center.Bennett was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Pipestone in 1879 by contributing cash and land to the rail companies. He also persuaded the Close Brothers Land Office, realtors from England, to open an office in Pipestone in The Close Brothers were partially responsible for a five-fold increase in the number of businesses within a year of the first train arrival and by 1880 the population of Pipestone was more than 200.In 1883 an architect named Wallace Dow proposed using the abundance of local quartzite for exterior building block material. The concept was well received, and within a year, more than thirty commercial structures were built with quartzite. Stone block products were sold to cities as far away as Chicago. The quartzite quarry flourished as an important early industry.An industry just as valuable today as it was in the 1800s is farming. Over the years the rich soils have produced grains and corn which have fed cattle and sheep.
38Just northwest of Pipestone is the Pipestone National Monument. For countless generations, American Indians have quarried the red pipestone found at this site. These grounds are sacred to many people because the pipestone quarried here is carved into pipes used for prayer. Many believe that the pipe's smoke carries one's prayer to the Great Spirit. The traditions of quarrying and pipemaking continue here today.While quarrying is the first and most basic step of the pipestone tradition, it is the least appreciated part. The task of extracting pipestone from the earth requires a commitment to many days of physically challenging work with hand tools and methods that differ very little from those used in centuries past. Quarries are allocated by permit issued by the Monument but demand for quarries far exceeds the number available each year. Despite a lengthy waiting list American Indians from many tribes accept the challenge and continue the quarrying tradition.
39According to geologists, pipestone was formed when a stream system deposited layer upon layer of sand and other sediment. The sand was eventually compressed into sandstone, and the red clay under it into clay stone. Some sediment was removed by one of the four glaciers which traveled through the area and scraped the land down to the sandstone. Under the weight of the glaciers and with extremely high temperatures, the sandstone became quartzite and the red clay sediment turned into pipestone.The vein of pipestone is sandwiched between two layers of hard quartzite, four to twelve feet below the earth's surface.
40There are also other things to do at Pipestone National Monument besides the quarry. Indoor activities include:Visitor CenterGift ShopInterpretive Programs and Demonstrations“Pipestone: An Unbroken Legacy, : a 22 minute filmOutdoor activities include:HikingPicnickingDid you know:Two species listed under the Endangered Species Act are found at Pipestone National Monument: the Topeka shiner and the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid.Pipestone National Monument is one of the few remaining areas of native tallgrass prairie. Over 400,000 square miles of tall grass prairie once covered the Midwest. Less than 1% of the original tall grass prairie remains today.
41Next, we will stop at Split Rock Creek State Park Next, we will stop at Split Rock Creek State Park. This 1303 acre state park is located just southwest of Pipestone on Highway 23.Wildlife: Lake and prairie animals inhabit the park. Meadowlarks, beavers, and waterfowl can be seen along the lakeshore. The southern, wooded part of the park is home to woodpeckers, fox squirrels, and other woodland animals.History: A large dam was completed in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The dam was constructed of Sioux Quartzite, a hard red rock that was quarried locally for use in the building of the dam and nearby highway bridge. The park was developed to provide water-based recreation for an area of the state that has few lakes.Geology: Three major ice movements during the ice age deposited a thick layer of sand, gravel, rocks, and clay called till, which are several hundred feet in some areas. Under the till lays a hard pink bedrock known as Sioux quartzite. This hard metamorphic rock was quarried in the area for use as a building material.Landscape: The park is located in the Coteau des Prairies ("highlands of the prairie") Landscape Region. Rock outcrops and shallow soil prevented much of the land within the park from being plowed. However, grazing by domestic livestock has diminished the native grasses and wildflowers. Late summer offers visitors a panorama of prairie colors among the wildflowers and grasses.
42Our next stop is the 1826 acre Blue Mounds State Park which is down south on Highway 75 from Pipestone.History: Plains Indians depended on the bison to survive. Different weapons were used to kill bison including the lance, and the bow and arrow. It is not known if the park's quartzite cliffs were used by the Plains Indians to stampede the bison off the cliff. Local rumors have persisted for years on the existence of large quantities of bison bones piled at the base of the cliff.No evidence exists today to substantiate these claims and stories. The large rock outcrop, first known as "The Mound," has provided the park area with an exciting past. The cliff appeared blue to settlers going west in the 1860s and 1870s. They named the prominent landmark, the Blue Mound. The mystery of the Blue Mound is not restricted to the cliffs. At the Mound's southern end is a 1,250 foot long line of rocks aligned in a east-west direction. Who built it and why is unknown. It is known that on the first day of spring and fall, the sunrise and sunset are lined up on this stone alignment. Visitors can hike to these rocks.In 1934, Rock County citizens asked the U.S. government for a Work Projects Administration (WPA) project in the Blue Mounds area. The first phase of the project was completed in 1937 with the construction of two dams on Mound Creek. These form the present lakes in the park. In the 1950s, thousands of trees were planted around the two lakes and in the campground. In 1961, the name of the park was changed from the Mound Springs Recreation Area to Blue Mounds State Park. That wasn't the only change: the park added three bison from the Fort Niobrara Wildlife Refuge near Valentine, Nebraska to start the present bison herd. Today, the Blue Mounds' herd is maintained at more than 100 bison.
43Geology: The Sioux quartzite rock was formed on the bottom of an ancient sea. Vast quantities of sand were deposited on this ancient sea floor. Ripple marks from this sandy, watery origin have been preserved and can be seen along many of the park's rock outcrops. Sandstone was formed from the further accumulation and weight of sand water. Through time, heat and chemical reactions transformed the sandstone into a very hard quartzite. The pink to purplish color in the quartzite is due to the presence of iron oxide. Glaciers have been the most recent geological event to shape the landscape in the last two million years. Glacial striations and scratches gouged into rock when loose rocks were dragged across the bedrock can be seen along the rock outcrops near the cliff line. Retreating glaciers buried the surrounding bedrock with a "glacial drift" of rock, sand, and gravel feet deep. The last glacial advance, known as the Wisconsin Ice Stage, did not cover the southwest corner of Minnesota.
44Wildlife: Bison, elk, wolves and prairie chickens roamed this part of Minnesota over years ago. Today, a herd of bison resides in the park. The park has a small population of coyotes and a stable deer population. Birdwatchers can catch glimpses of several western species as well as the birds of the tallgrass prairie.Landscape: Blue Mounds State Park contains a small remaining fragment of the once vast tallgrass prairie which covered much of North America. The abundant rock outcrops and shallow soil prevented much of the land within the park from being plowed. However, heavy grazing by domestic livestock has diminished the native grasses and wildflowers and introduced foreign and exotic, weedy plants. Special management programs are now underway to restore the native grasses and wildflowers. Late summer offers visitors a panorama of prairie colors when hundreds of different wildflowers bloom and grasses grow. For example, the big bluestem grasses grow to seven feet tall, at a rate of almost an inch a day. In addition, Blue Mounds is one of several places in Minnesota where cactus grows. Patches of prickly pear cactus can be found growing in shallow soils atop the quartzite outcrops. In late June and early July, the yellow flower of the cactus blooms.
45The southwest part of Minnesota is also an area that has large wind turbines. Suzlon Rotor Corporation, a manufacturer and supplier of rotor blades and nose cones, is located in Pipestone, and there are nearly 1000 Wind Turbines located in Southwest Minnesota on Buffalo Ridge.
46The next stop is Luverne The next stop is Luverne. In 1867, the first mail route was mapped from Blue Earth, Minnesota, to Yankton, South Dakota. Philo Hawes, the man who first mapped Luverne, stopped at his regular camping grounds on the Blue Mounds. He discovered that better land lay more to the south. He then traveled to the present site of the Public Works Department in Luverne and built a stable large enough to hold six horses. This stable, which was created from poles and clay, was the very beginning of present day in Luverne. Mr. and Mrs. Hawes named the city after their daughter, Luverne.In 1871, the very first school was founded in Luverne. The first high school was established in July 1883, and in 1888, two students finished the four-year study course becoming the first graduating class of Luverne High School.On October 2, 1876, the first passenger train arrived in the village of Luverne. Today, the city of Luverne has a population of approximately 4,625 people, and is the county seat of Rock County.
47Luverne was also one of the towns that premiered the documentary “The War” by Ken Burns. The documentary featured many people from the area of Luverne including Al McIntosh, the owner of the Rock County Herald. He moved to Luverne in 1940, fulfilling his dream of owning a small-town newspaper. He got to know everyone in town and chronicled the war’s impact on his neighbors’ lives in his biweekly column.Of the 21 male graduates of Luverne High School’s class of 1939, 20 served in the armed forces — only a boy with a heart condition stayed behind.Al McIntosh
48Our last stop will be on page 86 in the city of Rochester.
49The area was home to nomadic Sioux, Ojibwa, and Winnebago tribes of Native Americans. In 1851, the Sioux ceded the land to Minnesota Territory in the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, which opened the land for settlement.Rochester itself was founded by George Head in 1854; his land claim is now part of the city's business district. Originally from Rochester, New York, Head had settled in Waukesha, Wisconsin before moving west to Minnesota. He named the village on the South Fork of the Zumbro River after his New York hometown, and built a log cabin his family operated as Head's Tavern. By 1856, the population had grown to 50; and by 1858, it was 1,500. The territorial legislature created Olmsted County on February 20, 1855, with Rochester named county seat in Rochester developed as a stagecoach stop between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Dubuque, Iowa. When the railroad arrived in the 1860’s, it brought new residents and business opportunities. In 1863, Dr. William W. Mayo arrived as the examining surgeon for draftees in the Civil War.The streets of downtown Rochester filled with horses and buggies in the 1800’s.
50On Aug. 22, 1883 a tornado, some say two tornadoes that merged into one angry cloud just north of town, had cut a mile-wide swath through the fast-growing city of 10,000 the evening before. The twister flattened an entire quadrant of the city, known as Lower Town, in the vicinity of the current Northrop education building. Dozens of businesses were damaged, many beyond repair, and more than 200 people were left homeless. The tornado left 37 dead and thousands injured.
51There was no medical facility at the time, so Dr. William W There was no medical facility at the time, so Dr. William W. Mayo and his two sons, Drs. Charles and William J. Mayo, worked together to care for the wounded. $60,000 in donations were collected and the Sisters of St. Francis, assisted by Dr. William W. Mayo, opened a new facility named St. Mary’s Hospital in The Mayo practice grew and is today among the largest and most well-respected medical facilities in the world. Because of it’s history, tours are available at the Mayo Clinic.Dr. William Worrall Mayo, center, and his sons Dr. Charles Mayo, left, and Dr. William J. Mayo, right.
52The next place we will visit is the small town of Harmony located South of Rochester on Highway 52. Harmony Township, settled in the fall of 1852, was organized, May 11, The city of Harmony was founded in 1880, incorporated on January 8, 1896, and reincorporated on March 19, 1908.Harmony is known for Niagara Cave and the large Amish community.
53Harmony's Amish community is the largest in Minnesota and is strictly "Old Order" Amish, meaning that the people are very private and have strong Christian convictions that bind their community together enabling them to resist the ways of modern society. They began their move to this area in 1974 and have grown to nearly 150 families with six church "districts" and ten one-room schools.As in other sizeable settlements, a small tourism industry has developed here. In addition to the businesses the Amish themselves run, visitors to the area are catered to by tour companies which visit Amish farms and merchants and provide information on the community and Amish way of life.
54Next we will go to Nigara Cave, which is just southwest of Harmony Next we will go to Nigara Cave, which is just southwest of Harmony. Niagara Cave is one of the most fascinating and unique geological attractions in the Midwest. During the one-hour guided tour, visitors will witness a waterfall, nearly 60 feet high, stalactites both delicate and massive, calcite flowstone, fossils that have been dated to over 400 million years old.Niagara cave is a constant 48 degrees year around, so a light jacket or sweatshirt is suggested. Walking shoes are recommended.
56Our next stop is Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park Our next stop is Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. This 3,170 acre state park is located west of Preston (the red dot on the map).
57Wildlife: The great variety of habitats supports remarkably different wildlife ranging from rare glacial snails to timber rattlesnakes. While a few rattlers live in the park, they are of very little threat if left alone. Please report sightings. Other wildlife of note include deer, raccoon, beaver, mink, opossum, woodchucks, four species of squirrels, red and grey fox. Coyote numbers have grown in recent years and can often can be heard at dusk. Several species of reptiles and amphibians are also present. At least 175 species of birds have been recorded in the park including several important neotropical migrants (scarlet tanager, oven bird, redstart) and a sizeable population of wild turkeys. Barred owls often wake campers with after dark calling and soaring turkey vultures delight summer visitors.History: In the center of the park, along the South Branch of the Root River, is the townsite of Forestville. Founded in 1853, the village emerged as a rural trade center, typical of hundreds that emerged across southern Minnesota during the 1850s. Area farmers came to Forestville to trade their farm produce for goods and services. By 1858, Forestville numbered 100 inhabitants and had 20 buildings including two general stores, a grist mill, a brickyard, two hotels, a school, and mechanics of several trades. Forestville prospered until the first area railroad, the Southern Minnesota, bypassed the community in Village residents watched their town struggle to survive, while towns served by the railroad boomed with prosperity. By 1890, Thomas J. Meighen, son of one of the town's founders, owned the entire village. The 50 residents made their living on Mr. Meighen’s farm. In return for their work, his employees received housing, board and credit in his store. Mr. Meighen also maintained a post office, the school, a feed and a saw mill.
58Geology: Two to five hundred million years ago material was deposited in the bottom of shallow seas which intermittently covered large portions of North America. As the deposits increased in thickness, the layers on the bottom were compressed to form limestone, shale and sandstone. Today in the park, these rocks are 1300 feet above the sea. They are an important factor in the development of the terrain which exists now.Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park is located within the karst region of Minnesota. Karstoccurs in areas of soluble rocks, usually limestone or dolomite. As rainwater percolatesthrough the soil, it is rendered slightly acidic as it picks up carbon dioxide from microbialdecay of organic soil material. This fortified water has the capacity to dissolve the rock. Theeffects of this dissolving action are minute from the perspective of a human’s lifetime.However, over the course of many thousands of years, dramatic changes occur; the typicalfeatures of karst develop – caves and sinkholes form; underground drainage occurs. Thepark exhibits many karst features including one of the most outstanding karst features inthe state, Mystery Cave. The cave is a maze of linear corridors. Over twelve miles of passageexist in two rock layers with strikingly different compositions. During dry years, the entireSouth Branch Root River sinks into the cave through gravel filled crevices in the river bottom.Forestville also exhibits features of the unglaciated or “driftless” region. Of the four majorglacial advances during the last million years, only the first two covered the vicinity ofForestville. Downcutting of stream valleys by powerful glacial meltwater created the steephills and bluffs we see in the park and surrounding area today.
59Landscape: The steep bluffland topography has created a marked variety of localized climate conditions. South-facing slopes are warmer and drier. North-facing slopes are cooler and wetter. In addition, Forestville/Mystery Cave is located at the edge of two great biomes: the tallgrass prairie to the west, and the eastern deciduous forest. This combination has resulted in a striking mosaic of plant communities included prairie, savanna, oak woodland, maple/basswood forest, and even white pine and fir. Three spring-fed streams converge in the park, providing habitat for a rich variety of stream life. These streams are rated among the best trout waters in Minnesota.
60Mystery Cave Tours: Discovered in 1937, Mystery Cave is the longest cave in Minnesota - spanning over 13 miles underground. It is a network of passages that was dissolved by moving water.On the tours, you will travel the subterranean paths this water has taken, seeingmany of the features that make up Mystery Cave including stalactites,stalagmites, flowstone, fossils, and beautiful underground pools. Parksnaturalists lead your tour through various portions of the cave and explain itshistory, its features, and how it was formed.Please Remember!Warm dress and sturdy shoes are recommended(underground temperature is 48°F/9°C).Rocks and artifacts must be left in the cave!
61Our last stop is covering most of page 86 as well as pages 78 and 87, the 1,016,204 acre Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest. The RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is located in southeastern Minnesota. This state forest includes bluffs of the Great River Road of the Mississippi River and a number state water trails. Cannon River, Whitewater River, Root River, Zumbro River, and Vermillion River State Water Trails are within the forest's boundaries.History: The Minnesota Legislature established the Whitewater Management Area in Richard J. Dorer, working for what would become the DNR, helped establish the Whitewater's boundaries and lobbied for funds to buy the land. Dorer, however, saw the need to protect and reforest a larger tract of land. In 1958 he was joined by Willis Kruger, Wabasha County game warden; Phillip Nordeen, Goodhue County game warden; George Meyer, Whitewater refuge manager; and Ed Franey, Minneapolis conservation writer. These men worked with the Izaak Walton League to develop a prospectus after Dorer's first plan was rejected as too visionary and costly by the Minnesota Legislature. The prospectus, which was endorsed by the league, was transformed into law, and on March 17, 1960, George A. Selke, then commissioner of conservation, announced the creation of the Minnesota Memorial Hardwood Forest.The Memorial Hardwood State Forest was created in 1961 as a memorial to the state's pioneers andveterans. In addition to the recreational and aesthetic opportunities of all state forests, the founders ofthe RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest set out additional goals. Improved wildlife habitat, preventionof erosion, stability of streams, and timber production were set out as specific conservation goals for theforest.Management Activities: The RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is unique in that the state does not own most of the land. In fact, the state only owns 45,000 acres out of the 1 million acres covered by the forest. Strangely, not even all of the land is forested at present. The forest also represents what used to be forested land. RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is also the only forest where the use of mountain bikes, horses, OHVs, and ATVs is restricted to designated trails only.
62Thanks for exploring Minnesota * one atlas page at a time
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