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Minnesota State Parks

Salt Lake WMA
Salt Lake, on the border of Minnesota and South Dakota in Lac Qui Parle County, is Minnesota's only alkaline wetland. The water in Salt Lake is one-third as salty as sea water. Although it's not one of the largest lakes in the region, it is an oasis for waterbirds in western Minnesota. Salt Lake ...
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Lac Qui Parle WMA & State Park
Description: Lac qui Parle is a French translation of the name given to the lake by the Dakota Indians who called it the "lake that speaks."

Lac Qui Parle and associated Marsh Lake lie in the Upper Minnesota River Valley. Large tracts of native prairie interspersed with numerous wetland basins surround both lakes. Lac Qui Parle Wildlife Management Area and Lac Qui Parle State Park are among the most diverse in the state. Together they contain thousands of acres of wildlife habitats and exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities.

They’re located in one of the major waterfowl flyways in North America and host thousands of breeding and migrating waterbirds. Their floodplain forests are used by migrating neotropical songbirds such as warblers and vireos.

Wildlife to Watch: This area offers excellent viewing opportunities for wetland and prairie wildlife. Marsh Lake contains the largest white pelican colony in North America. It's easy to spot pelicans below the dams at Marsh Lake, near Appleton and Lac Qui Parle Lake, near Watson.

In most years, over 30,000 pelicans nest there, as well as double-crested cormorants and ring-billed gulls. As many as 50 bald eagles use the area during the spring and fall and a few pairs nest there. On spring migration, geese begin arriving in early March and continue through April. In October, geese arrive and continue until the last birds leave in early December. Peak counts of up to 150,000 Canada geese are common in late November during fall migration.

Tundra swans, snow and white-fronted geese, wood ducks and sandhill cranes can also be seen in spring and fall migration. Look too for western grebes, Forster's terns, cattle egrets, loggerhead shrikes, upland sandpipers and marbled godwits. White-tailed deer are common.

Because of its wide variety of habitats, Lac Qui Parle State Park features a large species list – more than most Minnesota state parks. This park is an excellent area for migrant birds, especially waterfowl. Shorebirds can be observed when the lake is low. The Park’s woodlands are very productive with 25 species of warblers having been recorded including the yellow-breasted chat. Flycatchers, thrushes, vireos, swallows, woodpeckers and sparrows are common. Field sparrows and clay-colored sparrows are especially common in the oak savanna areas.

Special Tips: Hunting is allowed on WMA. Call ahead for hunting season dates.

State Park Bird Checklist

Other Activities: See also nearby Nature Conservancy Preserves, Chippewa Prairie and Plover Prairie. These areas are open to the public for great wildlife and wildlflower viewing and photography, but not hunting. Among species to see: prairie chicken, sharp-tailed grouse, upland sandpiper, marbled godwits and other shorebirds loggerhead shrike, Wilson's phalarope, short-eared owl, waterfowl, badgers and prairie butterflies.

Ownership: MN DNR 
Size: WMA 32,990 acres Park 1,057 acres 
Closest Town: Watson

RestroomsParkingTent CampingFishingCross Country SkiingPicnic tablesBoat LaunchVisitor CenterHuntingHandicap AccessibleFeeLarge BoatsSmall BoatsTrailer CampingDrinking WaterCamp Fire

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

White Pelican - photo by USFWS
Please use Map Link below

Driving Directions:
Lac qui Parle WMA is between Appleton and Montevideo. From the west side of Montevideo at the junction with County Road 15, go north on Highway MN-7/US-59 for 6.4 miles. Turn west on County Road 13 for 2.6 miles. Turn right onto 140th Ave. NW/County Road 32 for 2.2 miles. Turn left onto 20th St NW/ Chippewa County Road 33 for 0.8 miles to the entrance drive for the co-located offices of the WMA and Park.

The State Park itself is located along Lac Qui Parle County Road 33 on the south end of Lac Qui Parle Lake.

Map Link

Lac Qui Parle WMA & State Park : Wildlife Viewing Area