“The Lake of the Land of Lakes”
Lake Louise lures hikers, horseback riders, skiers, and snowmobilers to its trails, which wind through open landscapes and lush hardwoods. The confluence of the Little Iowa and Upper Iowa Rivers that occurs in the park provides water recreation. In addition, visitors swim, boat, or fish in Lake Louise. Hiking and horseback riding are also popular sports at this park. The lakeside picnic grounds and beach area draws visitors in the summer. The diversity of wetlands, rivers, lake, old fields, and wooded areas provide ideal habitat for many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, including the prairie skink. Look for fox squirrel, raccoon, beaver, red fox, and white-tailed deer, which is in abundance. This park is a great place to birdwatch, with over 141 species reported, including 19 species of warblers and 5 species of vireos. Lake Louise State Park is the site of Minnesota's oldest, continuous recreation area. Shortly after the area was surveyed in 1853, the town of LeRoy was platted, and the Upper Iowa River dam was constructed to provide power for a grist mill. Soon after, the railroad came through, but it passed south of the original townsite. Out of economic necessity, the town of LeRoy was moved south to its present location for access to the rails. When the grist mill was abandoned, the Hambrecht family who owned the land along the mill pond gave several acres to the village as a recreation area. At that time the site was known as Wildwood Park. The mill pond was named after a member of the Hambrecht family and still bears her name, "Louise." In 1962, the city of LeRoy donated Wildwood Park -- about 70 acres -- to the state of Minnesota to form the nucleus of Lake Louise State Park. Today, the statutory boundary totals 1,168 acres.
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Lake Louise State Park
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