Places We Protect

Rush Creek Woods WMA


Aerial view of Rush Creek Woods WMA.
Rush Creek Woods WMA: The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota protected the land within Rush Creek Woods Wildlife Management Area. © John Gregor

Rush Creek Wood WMA features a diverse array of habitat, including oak forest, bluff prairie and savanna, as well as a trout stream, for local wildlife.



The Nature Conservancy originally protected 274 acres in Fillmore and Houston counties. Today known as Rush Creek Woods Wildlife Management Area, the property is owned and managed by Minnesota DNR; an additional 613 acres have been added, bringing the WMA to a total of 887 acres. 

The property includes an intermittent stream that flows into Rush Creek, a trout stream near Rushford, Minnesota, as well as oak forest, bluff prairie and savanna along with 14 acres of cropland that will be restored by the state to floodplain forest.

Rush Creek Woods WMA helps connect public land, including nearby state forest and a bluff prairie and savanna owned by the city of Rushford, with private land protected under a conservation easement.

Wildlife including the state-threatened timber rattlesnake along with turkey, ruffed grouse and deer can be found here.

Rush Creek Woods WMA is the first acquisition completed under the Conservancy’s Southeast Minnesota Protection and Restoration Program.



Wander through forests and across prairies or try your hand at trout fishing.


Hiking, nature photography, birdwatching, fishing, hunting


887 acres

Explore our work in Minnesota


    • Birdwatching
    • Cross-country skiing
    • Hiking
    • Nature study
    • Photography and videotaping for personal use (if for commercial use, you must obtain permission from the Conservancy first)
    • Snowshoeing
    • Fishing
    • Hunting
  • To minimize disturbance to wild places, we do not maintain trail infrastructure or facilities, and you will not find any staff onduty at the preserves. Therefore, we ask you to prepare for your visit and take proper precautions while on site.

    • Wear comfortable footwear suitable for hiking.
    • To protect yourself from ticks, poison ivy or poison sumac, wear long pants, and tuck them into your socks.
    • To get the most from your visit, and to protect yourself from the elements, you may want to bring the following items:
      • Binoculars
      • Camera
      • Compass
      • Field guides (to wildflowers, birds, butterflies and other natural features)
      • Insect repellant
      • Rain gear
      • Small first aid kit
      • Snack (fruit or trail mix)
      • Sunscreen
      • Water (dehydration is a serious risk at any time of the year)
  • Please help us protect our preserves by strictly avoiding the following activities while visiting:

    • Use of motorized vehicles of any sort, including ATVs, motorcycles and snowmobiles, except on public roads
    • Biking and mountain biking
    • Camping
    • To protect sensitive natural features and as a courtesy to other visitors, pets—as a general rule—are prohibited.
    • Carrying of firearms or archery equipment on preserves closed to hunting
    • Dumping of refuse
    • Feeding animals, including birds or fish
    • Fires or gathering of firewood
    • Horseback riding
    • Introducing exotic plant or animal species (those that are not native to a particular area)
    • Picking or digging up any tree, shrub, flower, grass, or removing any rocks, minerals or prehistoric or historic artifacts
    • Prospecting for minerals or metals
    • Picking of berries, nuts or mushrooms for other than personal use
    • Placement of permanent structures including deer stands
    • Target practice

    Policy on Dogs at Preserves

    To protect sensitive natural features and as a courtesy to other visitors, pets—as a general rule—are prohibited.

    • Service dogs are allowed at all preserves in Minnesota.
    • Hunting dogs are allowed only during hunting season at Minnesota preserves that are open to hunting.
    • All other dogs are otherwise prohibited from Conservancy preserves.


    • Do not remove any stakes, signs or other objects—they may be part of a research project.
    • Use trails and firebreaks where these are present. Do not make new trails.
    • Because seeds stick to shoes and clothing, you may introduce weeds into the preserve without knowing it. Inspect pant legs and shoes to remove seeds before entering.
    • Avoid walking on boggy, wet areas—they are more sensitive to the effects of foot traffic.
    • If you flush a ground-nesting bird, stop and avoid walking near the bird’s nest.
    • Give wide berth to livestock, which may be grazing on TNC preserves.
    • Close any gates that you open.
    • The Conservancy conducts prescribed burns to control invasive species. Please be on the lookout for Conservancy burn crews in the spring and fall.
    • During the fall hunting season, hunters may be near or on Conservancy property; wear bright, visible clothing.
    • Conservancy lands that are designated as Minnesota DNR Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) are subject to additional restrictions under state law.
    • Be aware of your surroundings; large predators such as bears, wolves and mountain lions may be present on some Conservancy preserves.

    Please report problems like trash, damage or broken signage to our Minneapolis office at (612) 331-0700 or

    Respect Our Neighbors’ Property

    A reminder: our preserves are often adjacent to private land. The Nature Conservancy respects and recognizes the rights and responsibilities of private property ownership. Please do not trespass on private property adjacent to Conservancy preserves. Property lines are clearly marked with small yellow signs featuring the Conservancy’s logo.

    • NE 1/4 of Sec 12, Rushford Township, Fillmore County; W 1/2 NW 1/4, SE 1/4 SW 1/4 of Sec 7, Money Creek Township, Houston County; 91°44’24”W  43°49’54”N (43.831902°, -91.740158°)
    • South Unit: Portion of Sections 3 & 4, Rushford Township, Fillmore County; 91°47’19.143” W 43°50’35.176” N (43.843104  -91.788651)
A red fox sits in a field in Minnesota.
Red fox A red fox sits in a field in Minnesota. © Nathan Lovas


Funding for the property 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.

Rush Creek Woods WMA is open to the public for hiking, photography and bird-watching. The Minnesota State Constitution requires property purchased with Outdoor Heritage Fund dollars to be open to the public taking of fish and game during the open season. Hunting, trapping and fishing is allowed on this property in accordance with DNR Wildlife Management Areas rules published in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment
Minnesota Legacy Logo Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment © 2014 Legislative Coordinating Commission

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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