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Thousands of feathered creatures gather here, nesting, breeding and chattering about things only birds would know about. For the myriad sounds the birds make, the Dakota people called the water body the "lake that speaks" and the French, when they came to the area, translated it to their language: "Lac qui Parle." Over 100,000 geese make this glacial lake a yearly retreat flying south from Canada. Hundreds of other birds and waterfowl make the Lac qui Parle area a favorite for bird watchers. A colony of white pelicans rare to the area, and an eagle nest in a designated sanctuary are some birding highlights.
A delight to nature lovers, Lac qui Parle was formed thousands of years ago by moving glaciers that receded over the Minnesota valley leaving river deltas and wide kettle lakes. Lac qui Parle, spanning 6,400 surface acres, is a water haven nestled into the green countryside of western Minnesota, part of 31,000 acres of land and water that make up the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area. Wetlands, brushlands, woodlands, native prairie, grasslands, and corn crops make the area a lush habitat for wildlife and a rich environment for nature study and observation. Minnesota's Southern region is a place of scenic valleys and quiet streams and is part of the massive Prairie Pothole Region, the center of the Great Plains of North America. As the glaciers receded ten thousands of years ago, they left millions of "potholes" that evolved into wetlands attracting diverse wildlife. These wetlands are crucial for globally significant populations of waterfowl, and help give Lac qui Parle its reputation. Hunting and trapping is allowed on the Lac qui Parle project and common game includes geese, duck, partridge, deer, pheasants, fox, raccoons, squirrels and rabbits. Trappers have a selection of fox, raccoon, beaver, muskrat and mink.
The Lac qui Parle Project is currently under control of the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water conservation, recreation and fish and wildlife management. It was originally a waterfowl conservation project governed by the State of Minnesota. The project consists of various dams and a channel: the Lac qui Parle Dam, Marsh Lake Dam, Chippewa Dam and Watson Sag Weir river channel. There are numerous boat launches and canoe portages on the lake. The Lac qui Parle State Park at the southern tip of the lake offers facilities for all kinds of recreation activities. There are picnic areas, playgrounds, campgrounds, a swimming beach, horse and hiking trails, and restrooms. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are offered for winter merriment. Jet skis are not allowed on the lake but with so many opportunities for other boating excursions that should not be a disappointment and Lac qui Parle has a great fishery.
The lake is one of western Minnesota's best walleye fishing locations. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources makes annual stockings of walleye which ensures an abundant population. Channel catfish, bluegill, smallmouth bass, crappies, and northern pike are also popular with anglers who flock, like the birds, to Lac qui Parle's serene environment.
The closest major city to Lac qui Parle is the bustling Minneapolis, and that is 120 miles away! But the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway, of which Lac qui Parle is part, connects you to worlds of intrigue. The byway follows the route of the weaving Minnesota River and carries you from pioneer trails and museums to farms and Native American burial sites. In the Lac qui Parle area alone, sites of interest may be the Plover Prairie Nature Conservancy Preserve, the Chippewa Prairie Reserve, the antique Norwegian granary that was donated to the United States after World War II, Fort Renville and the Lac qui Parle Mission site established in the early 19th century and one of the first points of contact between the Dakota people and Euro-Americans.
If the wild of nature calls you, you will come to Lac qui Parle. Consider vacation rentals in neighboring towns for longer stays, and if relocation is on your mind there are plentiful real estate options. While at Lac qui Parle, you can let all the business of the "real world" drift away like wood drift on the water. Contemplate the many vicissitudes of life as you watch hundreds of birds carry on the business of theirs.
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