“A Variety of Options for Everyone!”
This park has something for everyone. The trails take visitors around wet lowlands, oak savanna, and grasslands. Albert Lea Lake and park marshes draw hundreds of waterfowl during migration. Oak savanna and prairie landscape, including wetlands, dominate most of the park. One of the more unique aspects of the park is the 116-acre Big Island, covered with maple/basswood forest. Another is the glacial esker located in the northeast section of the park. Long before European settlers arrived, seasonal, and possibly year-round Indian villages were numerous around area lakes. Evidence of human occupation of the area dates back over 9,000 years and encompasses all four identified cultural periods (Big Game Hunters, Hunter/Gatherers, Horticulturalists and Potters, Village Dwellers and Farmers, and Euro-American Contact). Most of this evidence comes in the form of artifacts, including projectile points, axes, other hand-worked stone tools, and pieces of pottery. Today, most of what we know about these early people is what can be discovered by examination of their tools and occupation sites. The Owen Johnson Artifact Collection is one of the largest in the state and is available for research. The collection is not available for public viewing at this time. These locally found artifacts are treasures to assess how the early people of this area lived. The rolling hills, shallow lakes, and marshes of the park were formed as the last major glacier retreated from Minnesota over 10,000 years ago. The glacial features found here include moraines, an ice block lake and an esker. Moraines are made up of irregular deposits of unsorted sand, gravel and other rock debris left by retreating glaciers. As the glacier retreated, a huge block of ice was deposited. It melted behind the moraine and formed Albert Lea Lake. Today, the lake has a surface area of 2,600 acres and over 20 miles of shoreline. An esker - a winding ridge of stratified sands and gravel - is located at the north end of the park.
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Myre Big Island State Park
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