Rothsay WMA is located near Rothsay, MN, in Wilkin County, is a large expanse of native prairie that preserves some of Minnesota’s unique prairie heritage. Habitats include sedge meadows, prairie wetlands, mesic tallgrass prairie with brushy areas and aspen clones interspersed. Prairie birds of...
Maplewood State Park
|Description: Amid the farmlands, Maplewood State Park sits on a series of high tree-covered hills that offer visitors striking vistas of 28 small, clear lakes nestled in deep valleys. Hallaway Hill Overlook provides a panoramic view of the south arm of Lake Lida, which at 7200 acres is the largest lake in the contingent.
This site is located in a transition area between the western prairies and the eastern forests and contains plants and animals found in both landscapes. Established in 1963, the park contains l3 different plant communities, and trees like sugar maple, basswood, bur oak, elm and aspen. Autumnal splendor prevails, as this spot is known for its stunning display of seasonal foliage.
Wildflower lovers will find flowers and grasses representative of both biomes. Spring through fall, the park is "dressed" with displays of pasque flower, trillium, hepatica, bloodroot, nodding trillium, yellow lady's slipper, great lobelia, purple coneflower, purple prairie clover, wild onion, prairie rose and showy, as well as swamp milkweed.
Human habitation in the area dates back at least 6000 years. Artifacts found in the park give evidence of both prairie and woodland cultures. Most artifacts, however, indicate the site was occupied 900 to 1200 years ago and the residents were primarily hunters during that period. Records of modern habitation began in the mid-1880s when the original land surveys occurred. The Maplewood Church site is the only evidence of recent residency within the park.
Maplewood is one of 45 sites along the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, Minnesota’s first birding trail. It is about 200 miles in length and presents an array of habitats and more than 275 bird species along the way.
Wildlife to Watch: As a result of the varied park landscape, breeding birds abound with 150 species among the residents, including green herons, wood ducks, northern harriers, red-shouldered hawks, red-headed woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, warbling vireos, golden-winged and cerulean warblers, and blue-gray gnatcatchers. Look for kingbirds, swallows and cuckoos too. Great blue herons may be seen spearing fish in the shallow waters. You will also find a mixed heron, egret and cormorant colony in the park. Watch for the stunning colors of scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings during the spring and summer. Ospreys and turkey vultures fly overhead. Listen and look for the spectacular trumpeter swans, which were reintroduced into Minnesota starting in the 1960s.
There are 50 mammal and 25 reptile and amphibian species that live in and around this site. Drive along the scenic route at dawn and dusk to observe the wildlife: it is a great time to see deer that often browse along the roadway. Beaver are active in some lakes and raccoons, squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks are seen frequently. Look for Franklin’s ground squirrels, muskrats and red foxes. Check out the designated wildlife watching spot near Beaver Lake. During the day, scan the wealth of wildflowers and grasses for a host of beautiful butterflies, interesting insects and dazzling damsel and dragonflies.
Special Tips: Pine to Prairie Birding Trail
Land Manager Contact:
Maplewood State Park
39721 Park Entrance Rd
Pelican Rapids MN 56572
Other Activities: The extensive trail system attracts hikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. Lands exist within the boundaries of this park that are not under the jurisdiction of the DNR, please respect private property boundaries.
Hunting in the park is prohibited with the exception of deer hunting by special permit only.
Ownership: MN DNR
Size: 9250 acres
Closest Town: Pelican Rapids
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: