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Conference Wide

Lee, Michael [1].

Whitewater State Park - hiking through an excellent example of the unglaciated Driftless Area.

Whitewater State Park is set in the heart of Minnesota’s bluff country. The group will explore the rugged topography and natural features of this 3,200-acre park. Steep forested bluffs that rise 250-300 feet above the narrow valleys are covered by maple-basswood forest and oak forest. The steep slopes also support dolomite and sandstone cliffs, as well as examples of globally significant dry bedrock bluff prairie, Driftless Area white pine forest, and an algific talus slope and northern hardwood-conifer forest complex. Cold water streams are flanked by alluvial terrace forest and small groundwater seepage meadows. Scenic vistas are worth the hike to bluff-top overlooks. Along the way we will see historic CCC/WPA-era structures. Time permitting, the tour may stop at the nearby Elba fire tower where wooden stairs lead from the base of a 280-foot bluff to a 110-foot lookout tower where one can see for miles in all directions and get a great feel for the blufflands landscape. Hiking in Whitewater State Park is mostly along hiking trails- hiking varies from easy on the valley bottoms to moderate or rather strenuous on steep bluff slopes (depending on the route). July in southeastern Minnesota can be warm (typical daytime highs in the 80’s). Hiking boots or solid hiking shoes, a hat, and long pants are recommended. Participants should bring a quart of water, more if it is hot. Rain gear would be advised if rain is in the forecast. Binoculars would be useful for looking at plants on inaccessible cliff ledges or on the opposite side of a stream that may be deeper than one wants to wade through (this site is also a good birding spot). Box lunches and water will be provided.

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1 - Minnesota Biological Survey

none specified

Presentation Type: Activities:Field Trips
Session: FT12, North Fork Whitewater River - rare cold Karst bedrock and rugged Driftless Area topography hike, and scenic tour of the Whitewater valley
Location: Ballroom Lobby - West/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: FT12001
Abstract ID:1247
Candidate for Awards:None

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