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Minnesota State Parks

Whitewater WMA & State Park
The Whitewater WMA contains 27,000 acres of wildlife habitat. Three sparkling branches of the Whitewater River flow together in the Whitewater Valley, converging below dramatic river valley bluffs. Wildflowers abound in the area's oak woodlands, savanna, wetlands and bluff prairies. Remnant stand...
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Chester Woods County Park
Description: Chester Woods is a haven for wildlife and wildlife watchers. The reservoir forms a many-fingered lake which beckons to be explored by canoe. Wood ducks and hooded mergansers feed on the lake; watch for them as you paddle. Listen for the gung-gung of green frogs calling from the water's edge.

On land, roam the trail toward the dam overlook, across fields, through the oak woods, and break out onto the bluff prairie. Beaver Creek lies hidden in the valley below, covered by a thick-forested canopy. Dry sand prairie and oak savanna hide in the distance where the valley opens up. The park's prairies display an ever-changing palette of wildflowers, including prairie phlox, silver-leaf scurf-pea, coreopsis, purple prairie clover, compass plant and many asters. Prairies and grasslands are home to savanna and grasshopper sparrows and bobolinks.

Wildlife to Watch: Keep your eyes open for animals like white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, bull snakes, fox snakes and painted turtles.

During the winter, check the campground pine trees for roosting owls. Watch for wild turkeys roosting in wide-branching oak.

Other bird species you might see here include wood thrushes, veeries, eastern bluebirds, eastern towhees, broad-winged and Cooper's hawks, long-eared and short-eared owls, American redstarts, red-eyed vireos and cedar waxwings.

Special Tips: The fishing pier and paved trail are handicapped accessible.

Hunting allowed by special permit only. Call ahead for hunting season permit application details.

Ownership: Olmsted County 
Size: 1300 acres 
Closest Town: Eyota

RestroomsParkingTent CampingCross Country SkiingHikingPicnic tablesHuntingHandicap AccessibleFeeSmall BoatsDrinking WaterSwimming

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Hooded Merganser - photo by USFWS
Please use Map Link below

Driving Directions:
Chester Woods Park is located 3 miles west of Eyota, on the headwaters of Bear Creek in the rugged bluff country of Southeastern Minnesota.

Map Link

Chester Woods County Park : Wildlife Viewing Area