Thursday, July 27, 2017

La Salle Lake SRA celebration Aug. 12

It took citizen input and lots of planning, but it’s open, it’s beautiful, and it needs visitors. A celebration of the 940-acre La Salle Lake State Recreation Area in Hubbard County will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12.

The Minnesota state parks and trails celebration includes activities ranging from a pontoon boat ride on La Salle Lake to guided tours of the facilities and a host of activities and presentations. Visitors can check out the picnic pavilion, expanded parking area, nature play area and River Overlook interpretive hiking trail that leads to the confluence of the Mississippi River and La Salle Creek. Those feeling especially energetic, can head off to hike the narrow, rugged, 6.5-mile Challenge Trail that circles the lake.

Events include:
10 a.m. and 11 a.m. – Pontoon Tours
Ride on the pontoon to hear about the unique qualities of La Salle Lake, the deepest lake (213 feet) entirely within the state. Meet at the boat ramp.
10 a.m. – Scientific and Natural Area Tour
Learn about the jack pine blow down and current resource management, and walk to the confluence of the Mississippi River and La Salle Creek. Meet at the River Overlook Trailhead at the SNA (north side of County Road 9).
10 a.m. – Facilities Walking Tour
Walk through the picnic area, cabin area and campground to view current facilities and hear a bit of site history. Meet at the picnic shelter.
10 a.m. - noon (ongoing) – Archery
Try shooting an arrow with a youth bow. Ages 8 and up. (Young children may like to play at the nearby Nature Play Area.) Meet at the picnic shelter/parking lot area.
11:30 a.m. – Refreshments
Meet at the picnic shelter.
Noon – Speakers
Meet at the picnic shelter.

These activities are free, but vehicles must have a permit ($7/day or $35/year) to enter Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

La Salle Lake SRA is managed cooperatively by the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails, Fish and Wildlife, Forestry and Ecological and Water Resources divisions, and is a satellite unit of Itasca State Park, which is located about 8 miles away.

Established in 2011, La Salle Lake SRA offers hunting, fishing, hiking, snowshoeing and wildlife viewing. It includes La Salle Lake Scientific and Natural Area, which supports numerous rare plant and animal species.
The forested landscape features red and jack pine forests and woodlands, large white pine, balsam fir and white spruce forests, and a high quality old-growth northern white cedar forest. In addition to La Salle Lake and La Salle Creek, it also features more than one-half mile of Mississippi River Headwaters shoreline.

The Trust for Public Land, a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization, partnered with the DNR to transfer the property to public ownership. The property was purchased with funds dedicated to environmental projects.

The majority of the $8.49 million in funding came from the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment Act – specifically the Outdoor Heritage Fund through a grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Additional funding was provided by the Parks and Trails Fund and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Driving directions
La Salle Lake State Recreation Area is 233 miles northwest of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and 8 miles northeast of Itasca State Park.
From the north: From Shevlin, take Clearwater County Road 2 south 13.5 miles to Clearwater County Road 40 and continue east on Hubbard County Road 9 for 2.5 miles.
From the south: From the north entrance of Itasca State Park, take Clearwater County Road 2 north 6 miles to Clearwater County Road 40 and continue east on Hubbard County Road 9 for 2.5 miles.
From the east: From Highway 71, take Hubbard County Road 9 west for 12 miles to Becida, then continue west for 4 miles.
For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).