Park Info

Image of Lac Qui Parle State Park

Quick stats

925 acres
76,124 annual visits
7,507 overnight visits

Naturalist

The best way to learn more about Lac qui Parle State Park is to stop in at the park office for a map and information about what to see in the park. Although the park does not have a naturalist on staff, activities are offered occasionally throughout the summer.

Wildlife

The management of wildlife -- white-tailed deer, geese and other animals -- is a major success story. In the fall of 1958, only 150 geese were counted at Lac qui Parle. Since then, management practices have brought as many as 120,000 geese at one time. The geese arrive in early March from their primary wintering post at Swan Lake, Missouri. Spring migrations continue through April.

In late September, geese arrive and continue until the last birds leave in early December. Flights of whistling swans pass over Lac qui Parle in April and November. Pelicans nest in the area on an one-acre island.

History

Shortly after 1826, Joseph Renville, an independent fur trader built a stockade overlooking the foot of Lac qui Parle. Within the stockade, Dr. Thomas Smith Williamson and Alexander Huggins founded the Lac qui Parle Sioux Mission in July, 1835.

The missionaries translated the Gospel and several hymns into the Dakota language. They also completed the first dictionary of the language. At the mission, Minnesota's first cloth was also made. Lac qui Parle was designated as a state park in 1941.

Geology

At the close of the last glacial period, 13,000 to 15,000 years ago, Glacial Lake Agassiz, the largest freshwater lake the world has known, covered much of northwest Minnesota. For thousands of years, this lake drained southward through Glacial River Warren. This torrential river carved out what is now known as the Minnesota River Valley.

Down the length of the Minnesota River, where major tributaries joined it, deltas formed natural dams which resulted in wide lakes." Lac qui Parle Lake was formed in this manner, as was Marsh Lake to the north.

Landscape

Lac qui Parle State Park contains river floodplain and prairie hillsides. Lac qui Parle Lake is approximately fourteen feet deep, perfect for diverse wildlife habitat. Spring and fall migrations can be spectacular at the park.