Helen Allison Savanna SNA





  The Nature Conservancy logo  



Minnesota DNR

The Nature Conservancy

National Natural Landmark, Cedar Creek Natural History Area-Allison Savanna
(National Park Service)






















Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates

  Printable map      



85 acres




N45 22.874, W93 9.799


Driving Directions

  Area and County  

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          Anoka County  
          Metro Area  

Hiking Trails


There are no maintained trails. An old access road clear of trees and shrubs (in 2013) leads west from the parking area, along the south boundary of the SNA, to the open prairie on the western quarter of the site.




No hunting


Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

  Ecological Section    

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

  Ecological Subsection    

Anoka Sand Plain

  Land Type Association    

Anoka Lake Plain


Native Plant Communities*


Dry Barrens Oak Savanna (Southern): Oak Subtype

Oak - Aspen Woodland

Sedge Meadow

  * Source: The Minnesota Biological Survey, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources      

Natural Features














National Landmark

In 1975 Helen Allison Savanna was designated a National Natural Landmark.





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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos


    Helen Allison Savanna SNA   Helen Allison Savanna SNA  

Wood Routed Sign

    Helen Allison Savanna SNA      

TNC Sign on County Road 26

    Helen Allison Savanna SNA      

Old Access Road

    Helen Allison Savanna SNA   Helen Allison Savanna SNA  

Sedge Meadow

    Helen Allison Savanna SNA   Helen Allison Savanna SNA  
    Helen Allison Savanna SNA      

Dry Barrens Oak Savanna (Southern): Oak Subtype

    Helen Allison Savanna SNA   Helen Allison Savanna SNA  
    Helen Allison Savanna SNA   Helen Allison Savanna SNA  


    Helen Allison Savanna SNA   Helen Allison Savanna SNA  



Helen Allison SNA
Brett Whaley
  Helen Allison SNA  

Located in Anoka County, Minnesota. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, leased and co-managed with the MNDNR.




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Other Videos
  Helen Allison SNA minute and a half relaxation video
Much Wilder Me

Aug 2, 2020

Helen Allison was called the "Grass Lady" because she wrote about the 180 different grasses in Minnesota. 180 ! There are no groomed trails, but you can walk around a bit. I walked in about 50 feet and it felt very relaxing. You can still hear road noise, but it felt very nice. It's a bit windy in the beginning of the video, so keep the sound low!

The site includes "oak sand savanna, dry prairie with bur oak and pin oak, thickets of willow and aspen, and sedge marshes in scattered depressions. Trees and shrubs characteristic of a savanna are found here: pin oak, bur oak, American hazelnut, chokecherry, and quaking aspen. Other savanna species include lead plant, smooth sumac, slender willow, steeple bush, aster, and goldenrod. Look on the dunes for pioneer sand plants such as sea-beach needle grass and hairy panic grass. "... among others (quoted description from MN SNA website below)

Helen Allison SNA Information:

General SNA Information:

  The Nature Conservancy
Get into Nature!

Uploaded on Oct 14, 2011

Cub Scouts visit the Conservancy's Helen Allison Savanna - a rare oak savanna and a great place for parents to take their kids to experience nature.




Visitor Sightings

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings





  boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata)   boreal chorus frog  



Two bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:



Special Concern

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)


Minnesota DNR Bird checklist

eBird Field Checklist


American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Eastern Wood-peewee (Contopus virens)

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)


American Robin

Blue Jay

Brown Thrasher

Northern Cardinal

Wild Turkey


Fungi and Lichens


One fungi and lichen species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen here:

Special Concern

Sandy Laccaria (Laccaria trullisata)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fungi List

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Lichens List

  Black Knot (Apiosporina morbosa)   Black Knot  

Insects and Arachnids


Minnesota Bee Atlas


autumn yellow-winged grasshopper (Arphia xanthoptera)

black cherry finger gall mite (Eriophyes cerasicrumena)

chalk-fronted corporal (Ladona julia)

clouded sulphur (Colias philodice)

dot-tailed whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta)

four-spotted skimmer (Libellula quadrimaculata)

friendly fly (Sarcophaga aldrichi)

orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

plum finger gall mite (Eriophyes emarginatae)

pure green sweat bee (Augochlora pura)

red-winged grasshopper (Arphia pseudonietana)

twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

wood, mound, and field ants (Formica spp.)


clouded sulphur

four-spotted skimmer

twelve-spotted skimmer




Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Mammals List


plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

  whitetail deer  



Seven plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found here:


tall nutrush (Scleria triglomerata)

winter bentgrass (Agrostis hyemalis)


Fuller’s bristly dewberry (Rubus fulleri)

lance-leaved violet (Viola lanceolata ssp. lanceolata)

seaside three-awn (Aristida tuberculosa)

woolly beachheather (Hudsonia tomentosa)

Special Concern

rhombic evening primrose (Oenothera rhombipetala)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List


Plants frequently found in:

Dry Barrens Oak Savanna (Southern): Oak Subtype UPs14a2

Oak - Aspen Woodland FDc25b

Sedge Meadow WMn82b



alfalfa (Medicago sativa ssp. sativa)

alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum)

American hazelnut (Corylus americana)

American vetch (Vicia americana ssp. americana)

arrow-leaved violet (Viola sagittata var. sagittata)

asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Baltic rush (Juncus balticus var. littoralis)

bastard toadflax (Comandra umbellata ssp. umbellata)

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)

black bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus)

black cherry (Prunus serotina var. serotina)

black walnut (Juglans nigra)

Blue Ridge carrionflower (Smilax lasioneura)

bluntleaf sandwort (Moehringia lateriflora)

bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa)

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Canadian honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis)

candle anemone (Anemone cylindrica)

chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var. virginiana)

common blue violet (Viola sororia)

common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

desert goosefoot (Chenopodium pratericola)

eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana)

eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

field pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)

field sagewort (Artemisia campestris ssp. caudata)

fragrant bedstraw (Galium triflorum)

golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

gray birch (Betula populifolia)

Green’s rush (Juncus greenei)

hairy puccoon (Lithospermum caroliniense var. croceum)

hairy rockcress (Arabis pycnocarpa var. pycnocarpa)

heart-leaved golden alexanders (Zizia aptera)

Hayden’s Sedge (Carex haydenii)

hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens)

Howell’s pussytoes (Antennaria howellii ssp. neodioica)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

inflated sedge (Carex vesicaria)

kidney-leaved buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus)

large-flowered beardtongue (Penstemon grandiflorus)

leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

Lindley’s aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

long-bearded hawkweed (Hieracium longipilum)

lowland hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata var. comosa)

meadow hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)

nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)

northern blue flag (Iris versicolor)

northern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum)

northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis)

northern prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

northern starflower (Lysimachia borealis)

Philadelphia fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus var. philadelphicus)

prairie blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium campestre)

prairie buttercup (Ranunculus rhomboideus)

prairie coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata)

prairie groundsel (Packera plattensis)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

prairie spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis var. occidentalis)

prairie violet (Viola pedatifida)

prairie willow (Salix humilis)

quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)

red maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

red-seeded dandelion (Taraxacum erythrospermum)

round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata)

royal fern (Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis)

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

slender beardtongue (Penstemon gracilis var. gracilis)

smooth scouring rush (Equisetum laevigatum)

smooth Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum)

smooth sumac (Rhus glabra)

starry false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum stellatum)

stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida)

tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris var. acris)

tall cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta)

western poison ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)

western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya)

white clover (Trifolium repens ssp. repens)

white sage (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana)

wild grape (Vitis riparia)

wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea)

yellow goat’s beard (Tragopogon dubius)


Acer rubrum var. rubrum (red maple)

Acer saccharinum (silver maple)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Ambrosia psilostachya (western ragweed)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

Amphicarpaea bracteata var. comosa (lowland hog peanut)

Andropogon gerardi (big bluestem)

Anemone cylindrica (candle anemone)

Antennaria howellii ssp. neodioica (Howell’s pussytoes)

Antennaria neglecta (field pussytoes)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Arabis pycnocarpa var. pycnocarpa (hairy rockcress)

Artemisia campestris ssp. caudata (field sagewort)

Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana (white sage)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)

Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum (northern lady fern)

Betula populifolia (gray birch)

Carex haydenii (Hayden’s Sedge)

Carex vesicaria (inflated sedge)

Chenopodium pratericola (desert goosefoot)

Comandra umbellata ssp. umbellata (bastard toadflax)

Coreopsis palmata (prairie coreopsis)

Corylus americana (American hazelnut)

Cryptotaenia canadensis (Canadian honewort)

Drymocallis arguta (tall cinquefoil)

Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive)

Equisetum laevigatum (smooth scouring rush)

Erigeron philadelphicus var. philadelphicus (Philadelphia fleabane)

Fallopia convolvulus (black bindweed)

Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)

Galium triflorum (fragrant bedstraw)

Hieracium caespitosum (meadow hawkweed)

Hieracium longipilum (long-bearded hawkweed)

Iris versicolor (northern blue flag)

Juglans nigra (black walnut)

Juncus balticus var. littoralis (Baltic rush)

Juncus greenei (Green’s rush)

Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)

Lithospermum canescens (hoary puccoon)

Lithospermum caroliniense var. croceum (hairy puccoon)

Lysimachia borealis (northern starflower)

Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)

Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum (common false Solomon’s seal)

Maianthemum stellatum (starry false Solomon’s seal)

Medicago sativa ssp. sativa (alfalfa)

Moehringia lateriflora (bluntleaf sandwort)

Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (royal fern)

Packera plattensis (prairie groundsel)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

Penstemon gracilis var. gracilis (slender beardtongue)

Penstemon grandiflorus (large-flowered beardtongue)

Pinus strobus (eastern white pine)

Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum (smooth Solomon’s seal)

Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)

Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)

Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry)

Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (chokecherry)

Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup)

Ranunculus acris var. acris (tall buttercup)

Ranunculus rhomboideus (prairie buttercup)

Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Rumex acetosella (common sheep sorrel)

Salix humilis (prairie willow)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sisyrinchium campestre (prairie blue-eyed grass)

Smilax lasioneura (Blue Ridge carrionflower)

Solidago rigida (stiff goldenrod)

Symphyotrichum ciliolatum (Lindley’s aster)

Taraxacum erythrospermum (red-seeded dandelion)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Toxicodendron rydbergii (western poison ivy)

Tradescantia occidentalis var. occidentalis (prairie spiderwort)

Tragopogon dubius (yellow goat’s beard)

Trifolium hybridum (alsike clover)

Trifolium repens ssp. repens (white clover)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

Viburnum lentago (nannyberry)

Vicia americana ssp. americana (American vetch)

Viola pedatifida (prairie violet)

Viola sagittata var. sagittata (arrow-leaved violet)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Vitis riparia (wild grape)

Zanthoxylum americanum (northern prickly ash)

Zizia aptera (heart-leaved golden alexanders)

Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)


alsike clover

American hazelnut

black cherry

bur oak (var. macrocarpa)


common false Solomon’s seal

common mullein

common yarrow

eastern white pine

fragrant bedstraw

hairy puccoon

heart-leaved golden alexanders

large-flowered beardtongue



northern starflower

prairie coreopsis

prairie rose

prairie spiderwort

Russian olive

slender beardtongue

tall cinquefoil

western poison ivy

white clover

yellow goat’s beard




One reptile species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen here:

Special Concern

bull snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi)


common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

prairie skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis)

  common snapping turtle  






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