|Heron Lake System|
The lake got its name from the vast colonies of nesting black-crowned night herons that its first visitors found here over a century ago. “Heron Lake” is actually a complex of prairie lakes and marshes, one of the largest of these in North America. This famous chain lies in the heart of the prai...
Camden State Park & Prairie Marshes WMA
|Description: Camden State Park lies on the second highest and easternmost moraine in the Coteau des Prairie. Located in a beautiful wooded valley of the Redwood River, Camden State Park is an oasis in an area of intensive agriculture, offering rich riparian woodland and restored prairie.
Camden's cool wooded valley cuts through the open prairie and offers visitors the opportunity to observe plants and animals of woodlands and prairies. Springtime flowers such as white trillium, trout lilies, bloodroot and violets color Camden's woodlands. Such woodlands are relatively rare in southwestern Minnesota and provide an oasis for woodland birds not typically found in the prairie landscape. Yet its prairie comes alive in spring with pasque flowers and prairie smoke. In summer, purple coneflowers and blazing stars add color to the prairie. In the fall, goldenrods, asters and gentians bloom on the prairie. Reds, yellows and golds from maples, basswoods, ash, cottonwoods and hackberry make the fall colors great at Camden State Park. The blooming wildflowers in spring, abundant wildlife in summer, colorful woodlands in the fall and the scenic view of the river valley on a winter day make Camden an enjoyable place to visit any time of year.
If you want to experience the beauty of a native prairie and wetland complex, visit nearby Prairie Marshes Wildlife Management Area. There is an excellent variety of prairie wildflowers and butterflies in the spring and summer, and a good variety of prairie waterfowl during the spring, summer and fall on the large marsh. Black Rush Lake Waterfowl Production Area southeast of the Park includes about 900 acres of wetland marshes, prairie and oak savanna.
Wildlife to Watch: You could easily spend a whole day birding Camden SP - especially during spring and fall songbird migration. The park provides woodland and prairie habitat for a wide variety of birds. At least 17 species of warblers, plus many species of thrush, flycatchers, swallows and sparrows utilize the park. Red-bellied woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings and pileated woodpeckers are all common.
The wooded hillsides are habitat for a large and thriving wild turkey population. In the fall, this riparian area is refuge to migrating broad-winged, red-tailed, sharp-shinned and Coopers hawks, peregrine falcons, bald eagles and ospreys. Grasslands on the western side of the park host nesting upland sandpipers, grasshopper sparrows, and northern harriers, western meadowlarks, eastern kingbirds, and sedge wrens. Also, look for mammals like mink, raccoons and coyotes.
Winter viewing is mostly confined to the permanent residents; woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatch, black-capped chickadee, and blue jay as well as large wintering herd of whitetail deer. On the WMA, wetlands and prairie on provide habitat for waterfowl and several prairie species like dickcissels, bobolinks, upland sandpipers, and prairie butterflies. Look for prairie plants such as pasqueflower, prairie smoke, purple coneflower and blazing star.
Special Tips: Campsites can be reserved through the centralized reservation service by calling
1-866-85PARKS (1-866-857-2757) or online at
Ownership: MN DNR
Size: Park 2245 acres WMA 278 acres
Closest Town: Lynd
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: