Sibley State Park

Over the next few weeks, I am going to be telling you all the things I did during and on the way back from the 71st Annual Minnesota Governors Fishing Opener in the Willmar Lakes Area. First stop – Sibley State Park in the Kandiyohi County, located 15 miles north of Willmar on U.S. Highway 71.
The park is near New London, on the shores of Lake Andrew and named for Henry Hastings Sibley, the first governor of the state. Sibley was established as a state park in 1919. In 1935 the Federal government sent the Veterans Conservation Corps and for the next three years, the group of up to 200 men built roads, buildings, and trails within the park. The park is filled with hills, prairies, wetlands and lush hardwood forests dominated by oak, red cedar, ironwood, green ash, aspen, maple, and basswood. The park really offers everything.
You can hike up Mount Tom, boat and fish on Lake Andrew, have a picnic, play volleyball and horseshoes, go camping, or portage and canoe on Henschien Lake and Swan Lake. You can spend time checking out all kinds of wildlife including white-tailed deer, red and gray fox, coyote, raccoons, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mink, striped skunks, badgers and woodchucks.
If you are a bird lover, Sibley is perfect for you. See the great blue herons, egrets, wood ducks, Canada geese, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, pelicans, loons, bluebirds, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, cuckoos, thrushes, tanagers and barred owls. Fun fact: Sibley was the first place in the State of Minnesota where nesting Yellow-throated Warbler were recorded.
I spent my trip to Sibley with Kelsey Olson, the park naturalist, who knows all the best stories about the park. I highly recommend finding her if you are making the trip. She even got me out Geocaching and making s’mores!

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