Western Prairie Fringed orchid
Flowers. Western Prairie Fringed orchid. © Shan Cummingham

Places We Protect

Minnesota

Mentor Prairie Preserve

The Outdoor Heritage Fund was created to restore, protect and enhance habitat for Minnesota's fish, game and wildlife.

The Nature Conservancy protected two non-contiguous properties totaling approximately 480 acres in Polk County. The lands are adjacent to the Mentor Prairie and Dalea Wildlife Management Areas, providing an important wildlife corridor that also establishes a block of more than 2,400 acres of protected grasslands.

Rare western prairie fringed orchids grow on the site, a spectacular plant that can grow nearly three feet tall and display more than 30 flowers per plant when it blossoms in July.

The Nature Conservancy acquired the properties under its Minnesota Prairie Recovery Project, an effort to protect native prairie and savanna and restore thousands of acres of degraded prairie and prairie wetland habitat.

Funding for the properties was provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created under the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, through an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

The properties are open to the public for hiking, photography and bird-watching. The Minnesota State Constitution requires all properties purchased with Outdoor Heritage Fund dollars to be open to the public taking of fish and game during the open season. As a result, hunting, trapping and fishing are allowed on this property in accordance with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Areas rules published in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

Many of the properties purchased through the project are adjacent to private lands that are not open for public hunting. Please restrict hunting and fishing activities to only those lands clearly marked with signage showing they are “Open to Public Hunting.”

The Conservancy manages Minnesota Prairie Recovery Project properties using strategies including prescribed fire, conservation grazing, and the removal of encroaching trees and brush. These methods will benefit wildlife, preserve clean water and provide recreational opportunities.

Locations:

  • SW 1/4 of Section 4 and SE 1/4 of Section 5, Grove Park Township, Polk County; 96°10'50"W 47°45'8"N (47.7522222°, -096.1805556°)
  • NW 1/4 of Section 10, Grove Park Township, Polk County; 96°9'33"W 47°44'42"N

NOTE: Best public access is thorough Mentor Prairie Wildlife Management Area.

Locations:

  • SW 1/4 of Section 4 and SE 1/4 of Section 5, Grove Park Township, Polk County; 96°10'50"W 47°45'8"N (47.7522222°, -096.1805556°)
  • NW 1/4 of Section 10, Grove Park Township, Polk County; 96°9'33"W 47°44'42"N

NOTE: Best public access is thorough Mentor Prairie Wildlife Management Area.

 

Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment
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