Snapshot: Lac qui Parle State Park
Lac qui Parle means "lake that talks" in French—and the waters here truly do babble with life each fall and spring as geese, mallards, and other migratory birds stop to rest en route to their seasonal homes. Hikers, hunters, birders, and others flock to the park as well to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.
If you're fascinated by waterfowl, Lac qui Parle is the place to be September through November. Watch massive flocks of Canada geese and ducks gather and then etch the skies with V formations as they wing their way south. There's no hunting here, but the park's brand-new campground provides a great home base for those wishing to tap into the bounty on the adjacent 33,000-acre WMA.
The combined headquarters for the park and WMA, open seven days a week, offers a gathering spot and learning center with exhibits and information on camping, hiking, birding, hunting, and fishing opportunities in the park and the surrounding area.
Pelicans nest by the thousands on Marsh Lake, just north of the park (See Pelicans of Marsh Lake, July–August 1997.). September brings people out to gather edible shaggy mane mushrooms.
In the heart of the lower campground, the park's one-of-a-kind rustic shelter—constructed by Works Progress Administration workers in 1940–41—displays a 50-foot-long concrete relief map of the Minnesota River valley.
Long, shallow Lac qui Parle Lake was formed thousands of years ago as silt deposited by tributary waters slowed the flow of the Minnesota River. In the late 1820s, fur trader Joseph Renville built a stockade just downstream from where the park is now. A few years later, Lac qui Parle Dakota mission—the first church in Minnesota—was established. Lac qui Parle became a state park in 1941.
This state park's upper campground offers a breathtaking view of the Minnesota River valley. It features 38 electric sites, including nine with full sewer and water hookups, and double campsites for those gathering with friends or family. Tenters also have the option of cart-in sites.
With lake, river, marsh, wooded floodplain, prairie, and vista-rich upland habitat, Lac qui Parle State Park is a birder's paradise. More than 100 species have been sighted during fall migration. Along with thousands of geese and ducks, watch golden eagles, bald eagles, tundra swans, and pelicans fly overhead. The 5,589-acre lake offers fine fishing for walleye, northern pike, crappie, and catfish.
For more information, see Lac qui Parle State Park, or contact the DNR at 1-888-646-6367 or 651-296-6157.