Maplewood State Park

Parks & Geology / Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

I was lucky enough to stop at Maplewood State Park during the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener.

Located on the outskirts of Pelican Rapids in the heart of Ottertail County, this state park was created in the early 1960s as the hilly, lake-dotted terrain was better suited to recreation than to farming.

The park is located in a transition area between the western prairies and the eastern forests, containing plants and animals found in both landscapes.

Drive along the scenic route to observe the wildlife, including bald eagles, loons, beaver, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and turtles.

The high tree-covered hills allow you to see striking vistas of small, clear lakes in the beautiful, expansive, deep valleys.

Significant in size, it is 9,250-acres with eight major lakes, extensive hiking, horse, back-country cross-country ski, and snowmobile trails. The park also boasts an impressive amount of camping opportunities. 71 single-family campsites (32 with electric hookups), 24 equestrian camps, 3 backpack sites, 3 cabins, and 1 group campsite.

The perfect place to spend a weekend: pitch a tent and rent a boat, canoe, or kayak from the park office.

I usually add grabbing a local pizza (this one is a taco pizza from Big John’s in Pelican Rapids) on my way in.

The park also has a rich history worth learning.

Human habitation in the area dates back at least 6,000 years.

The park preserves a pre-contact habitation, archeological site within the park, the Maplewood Site, that was occupied in two different periods (650–900 CE and 1450–1650 CE) in a forest/prairie transition zone.

Most artifacts, however, indicate that the site was occupied 900 to 1200 years ago and that the residents were primarily hunters during that period. Records of modern habitation began in the mid-1880s when the original land surveys occurred. After the organization of the Lida and Maplewood townships, the area population rose to 1,167 by 1900.

Have you been to Maplewood State Park yet?

This post was sponsored by Visit Ottertail County but all opinions are my own.

Visit Ottertail County #FindYourInnerOtter #MNGFO2021 Explore Minnesota #OnlyinMN

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