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Minnesota State Parks

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USA Parks
Southern Region
Lac Qui Parle State Wildlife Management Area
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14047 20th Street Northwest
Watson, Minnesota   56295

Phone: 320-734-4450
Toll Free: 888-646-6367
Reservations: 866-857-2757
Email: park email button icon
Lac qui Parle is a French translation of the name given to the lake by the Dakota Indians who called it the "lake that speaks." If you visit in the spring or fall you'll understand why. The lake is a stop over for thousands of migratory Canada geese and other waterfowl. You'll hear a chorus of honking, quacking, and other vocalizations. Paddle the lake, or cast a line and catch walleye, northerns, perch, or crappie. Explore one of the trails by foot or horseback. Visit the historic Fort Renville and Lac qui Parle mission sites. While in the area, be sure to visit the 27,000 acre Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area.
Nature of the Area
Lac qui Parle State Park contains river floodplain and prairie hillsides. Lac qui Parle Lake is approximately fourteen feet deep, perfect for diverse wildlife habitat. Spring and fall migrations can be spectacular at the park.

At the close of the last glacial period, 13,000 to 15,000 years ago, Glacial Lake Agassiz, the largest freshwater lake the world has known, covered much of northwest Minnesota. For thousands of years, this lake drained southward through Glacial River Warren. This torrential river carved out what is now known as the Minnesota River Valley. Down the length of the Minnesota River, where major tributaries joined it, deltas formed natural dams which resulted in wide lakes." Lac qui Parle Lake was formed in this manner, as was Marsh Lake to the north.

The management of wildlife -- white-tailed deer, geese and other animals -- is a major success story. In the fall of 1958, only 150 geese were counted at Lac qui Parle. Since then, management practices have brought as many as 120,000 geese at one time. The geese arrive in early March from their primary wintering post at Swan Lake, Missouri. Spring migrations continue through April. In late September, geese arrive and continue until the last birds leave in early December. Flights of whistling swans pass over Lac qui Parle in April and November. Pelicans nest in the area on an one-acre island.
History of the Area
Shortly after 1826, Joseph Renville, an independent fur trader built a stockade overlooking the foot of Lac qui Parle. Within the stockade, Dr. Thomas Smith Williamson and Alexander Huggins founded the Lac qui Parle Sioux Mission in July, 1835. The missionaries translated the Gospel and several hymns into the Dakota language. They also completed the first dictionary of the language. At the mission, Minnesota's first cloth was also made. Lac qui Parle was designated as a state park in 1941.

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Approximately 1/2 mile north of Watson on U.S. Highway 59 and State Highway 7, then east on Chippewa County Road 13.

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Minnesota State Parks