At an elevation of approximately 1,340 feet, Frenchman’s Bluff is one of the highest points in northwestern Minnesota. Perched hundreds of feet above the Red River Valley floor, it provides a majestic view of the Glacial Lake Agassiz basin. Here, you can touch the wispy pink seedheads of Prairie Smoke in spring that carpet the valley or watch dramatic summer thunderstorms march eastward across the plains.
Students from the University of Minnesota have visited and monitored this preserve for more than 50 years. In the 1960s when students noticed that grazing cattle and a gravel operation threatened to ruin this tallgrass prairie, they asked The Nature Conservancy to preserve it.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Since University of Minnesota students through the Itasca Biological Station used this land to study prairies, saving it could wield powerful new information on conservation management. These future scientists beseeched the Conservancy to protect and preserve this land, and it did.
The Conservancy now leases the land to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Scientific and Natural Areas Program.
Because of the Conservancy's non-confrontational approach, it is uniquely situated to work with a variety of partners. The process of how Frenchman's Bluff became a preserve exemplifies the importance the Conservancy places on working together.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Spotted knapweed and yellow sweet clover are two of many invasive species that have invaded this land and threaten the health of its native plants. By controlling their proliferation, native plants can thrive. By mowing, spot spraying and conducting prescribed burns, the Conservancy can control the spread of invasive species while enhancing the native prairie.