Lawrence Creek SNA


Area and County

    Chisago County
    Central Minnesota

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71.8 acres


Detail map (MN DNR)


 Printable Maps with GPS coordinates

Printable map    

N45 22.769, W92 41.235

Hiking Trails

A mowed trail leads from the parking area into the SNA. A discernible but not well worn footpath leads south from there closely following the eastern boundary, to a forest road. The forest road follows the boundary of the sanctuary portion of this SNA from the eastern to the western boundary. It is surfaced with crushed rock and has a gate at both ends. Another footpath follows Lawrence Creek from near the western end of the road to the northern boundary of the SNA. Near where it ends, a steep but manageable climb up the bluff takes the hiker back to the parking area after completing a 3.2 mile circuit, not counting off-trail explorations. The footpaths are easy enough to follow in early spring. They may not be visible on the ground in mid-summer.


Archery hunting only. See Hunting and Trapping Regulations (MN DNR) for details.

Fishing outside of the sanctuary.

Ecological Classification Province  

Laurentian Mixed Forest Province

Ecological Classification


Southern Superior Uplands
Western Superior Uplands


Mille Lacs Uplands
St. Croix Moraine

Land Type Association(s)

Almelund Moraine

Polk Basalt Moraines

Native Plant Communities1

Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till)

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest

Red Pine - White Pine Woodland (Eastcentral Bedrock)

Natural Features

Exposures of Cambrian-Ordovician rock formations

Floodplain forest

Trout stream

Ownership Minnesota DNR logo        

Minnesota DNR


This SNA was designated on 6/12/2017.

The cliffs and steep slopes on the southeast and south portions of this SNA are “designated as a sanctuary for research and educational purposes with access only by Scientific and Natural Area permit.”

Designated on June 12, 2017, Lawrence Creek SNA is one of the newest Scientific and Natural Areas in the Minnesota DNR’s inventory. It consists of 71.8 forested acres of steep bluffs and deep ravines near Franconia in Chisago County. Included within its boundary is a trout stream, a hunting shack, and an 11-acre state wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is closed to the public and visitors are asked to “Stay back from cliffs and off steep slopes” to protect sensitive plant communities. There are no maintained trails, but there is a forest road and worn footpaths that together complete a 3.2-mile circuit of the site.

Visitors to Lawrence Creek SNA in May will see Pennsylvania sedge in flower and sharp-lobed hepatica and yellow marsh marigold peaking. Other spring wildflowers in bloom include bloodroot, white trout lily, large-flowered bellwort, large-flowered trillium, and Virginia spring beauty. Louisiana Waterthrush, a species of special concern, has been heard here. The site contains habitat that may host Cerulean Warbler, Acadian flycatcher, and Red-shouldered Hawk. Three Helmeted Guineafowl were seen in the parking area by a surprised visitor. They apparently belong to the farm across the road and are free to roam the adjacent fields.












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  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA

Entrance Trail

  Lawrence Creek SNA    

Forest Road

  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA
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  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA


  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA

Lawrence Creek

  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA
  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA

Footbridge Over Lawrence Creek

  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA

Hunter’s Shack

  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA

Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till)

  Lawrence Creek SNA    

Bluff Top Forest

  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA

Floodplain Forest

  Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA



  Lawrence Creek SNA
  Lawrence Creek SNA  



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Visitor Sightings

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Three Helmeted Guineafowl were seen in the parking area to this SNA on 5/6/2018 by a surprised visitor. They apparently belong to the farm across the road and are free to roam the adjacent fields.


One bird species with conservation status in Minnesota and one tracked species have been seen (or heard) here:


Special concern

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)



Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)


Minnesota DNR Bird checklist

eBird Field Checklist


American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)


Blue Jay

Tree Swallow

White-breasted Nuthatch

Wild Turkey


brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

brook trout

Fungi and Lichens

True Tinder Polypore (Fomes fomentarius)

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

True Tinder Polypore

Insects and Arachnids

goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis)

mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

water strider (Family Gerridae)

mourning cloak


American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

American red squirrel


One plant species with conservation status in Minnesota is found here:



butternut (Juglans cinerea)


Plants frequently found in:

Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till) MHc36a

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest MHs37b

Red Pine - White Pine Woodland (Eastcentral Bedrock) FDn22d



American hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana)

American plum (Prunus americana)

balsam fir (Abies balsamea var. balsamea)

bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata)

black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa)

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis)

chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var. virginiana)

common blue violet (Viola sororia)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common polypody (Polypodium virginianum)

Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

early meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum)

eastern false rue anemone (Enemion biternatum)

eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana)

eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

hairy Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum pubescens)

large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva)

ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica)

paper birch (Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera)

Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica)

Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota ssp. carota)

red clover (Trifolium pratense)

red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa)

red pine (Pinus resinosa)

scouring rush horsetail (Equisetum hyemale ssp. affine)

sharp-lobed hepatica (Anemone acutiloba)

spinulose wood fern (Dryopteris carthusiana)

staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)

sugar maple (Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum)

Virginia spring beauty (Claytonia virginica var. virginica)

Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum var. virginianum)

white oak (Quercus alba)

white spruce (Picea glauca)

white trout lily (Erythronium albidum)

wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

wild leek (Allium tricoccum)

winter cress (Barbarea vulgaris)

wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia)

yellow marsh marigold (Caltha palustris var. palustris)


Abies balsamea var. balsamea (balsam fir)

Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum (sugar maple)

Allium tricoccum (wild leek)

Anemone acutiloba (sharp-lobed hepatica)

Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia (wood anemone)

Asarum canadense (wild ginger)

Barbarea vulgaris (winter cress)

Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera (paper birch)

Caltha palustris var. palustris (yellow marsh marigold)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Claytonia virginica var. virginica (Virginia spring beauty)

Daucus carota ssp. carota (Queen Anne’s lace)

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches)

Dryopteris carthusiana (spinulose wood fern)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Enemion biternatum (eastern false rue anemone)

Equisetum hyemale ssp. affine (scouring rush horsetail)

Erythronium albidum (white trout lily)

Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)

Hemerocallis fulva (orange daylily)

Hydrophyllum virginianum var. virginianum (Virginia waterleaf)

Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)

Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica (ostrich fern)

Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana (American hophornbeam)

Picea glauca (white spruce)

Pinus resinosa (red pine)

Pinus strobus (eastern white pine)

Polygonatum pubescens (hairy Solomon’s seal)

Polypodium virginianum (common polypody)

Populus grandidentata (bigtooth aspen)

Prunus americana (American plum)

Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (chokecherry)

Quercus alba (white oak)

Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (red elderberry)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Thalictrum dioicum (early meadow-rue)

Trifolium pratense (red clover)

Trillium grandiflorum (large-flowered trillium)

Uvularia grandiflora (large-flowered bellwort)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

American plum

black raspberry


common blue violet

Dutchman’s breeches

large-flowered bellwort

large-flowered trillium

orange daylily

Queen Anne’s lace

sharp-lobed hepatica

Virginia spring beauty

white trout lily

yellow marsh marigold




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