Ottawa Bluffs

 

 

     
 
About
 
 

Ownership

 
 

The Nature Conservancy logo

 
     
 

Links

 
 

The Nature Conservancy

 
     
 

Overview

 
 

The 62-acre Ottawa Bluffs Preserve consists of a patchwork of dry hill prairie and oak woodland on a steep bluff of the Minnesota River Valley. Visitors who undertake the steep and strenuous climb to the top of the bluff will be rewarded with an expansive view of the Minnesota River Valley and the town of St. Peter. An American Indian burial mound is at the top of the bluff. Western harvest mouse and a species of jumping spider, both species of special concern, and five state listed plant species have been found on the preserve.

The site has been owned since 1975 by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The hill prairie, unsuitable for farming or pasture, remains mostly undisturbed by man. The previous owner began building a road from the bluff top to the base, but abandoned the effort less than half completed. The former roadbed is now grassy prairie and an eroded ravine. Decades of fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on and eliminate parts of the native prairie. Since 1989, volunteers for TNC have been working to remove juniper and other invasive woody species; check further erosion of the ravine; and restore a small part of oak woodland to its pre-settlement condition, oak savanna.

 
     
 

History

 
 

 

 
     
 

Management

 
 

 

 
     
 

Comments

 
 

 

 
     
 
Location
 
 

Maps

 
 

 

 
         
 

Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates

 
  Printable map      
         
 

Size

 
 

62 acres

 
         
 

Parking

 
 

N44 21.788, W93 56.062

 
         
 

Driving Directions

  Area and County  
 

Get driving directions from Google Maps to this destination from any address, and send those directions to your phone.

   
          Le Sueur County  
          Southwest Minnesota  
     
 
Activities
 
 

Hiking Trails

 
 

There are no maintained trails. A well-worn footpath leads from the kiosk and parking spot through the woods to to a cornfield at the top of the bluff.

 
     
 

Hunting

 
 

No hunting

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

   
  Ecological Section    

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

   
  Ecological Subsection    

Big Woods

   
  Land Type Association    

Cordova Moraine
Le Sueur Alluvial Plain

   
             
 

Native Plant Communities*

   
 

Dry Hill Prairie (Southern)

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland

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

Natural Features

     
 

Prairie, oak savanna, oak woodland

 

 

 

 

 

           
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Parking

 
    Ottawa Bluffs   Ottawa Bluffs  
           
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East Wood Routed Sign

 
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West Wood Routed Sign

 
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Nature Conservancy Mailbox with Visitor Log

 
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Information Sign

 
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View from the Top

 
    Ottawa Bluffs      
           
 

Oak Savanna Restoration

 
    Ottawa Bluffs      
           
 

Dry Hill Prairie (Southern)

 
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Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland

 
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Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
 
     
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Come Explore the Prairie With Me! - Schaefer Prairie and Ottawa Bluffs | 2021 Adventures
Adventures of an Aspiring Something or Other
 
   
 
About

May 27, 2021

Join Jonas and I on a trip to explore two prairie areas in Southern Minnesota, Schaefer Prairie and Ottawa Bluffs. Both are owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy. A vlog-style video complete with my inability to remember anything I've ever learned about prairie plant identification, a lengthy discussion of prescribed fire and fire ecology in grasslands, unexpected wetlands, and a deep awakening moment about EXACTLY how out of shape I am.

Also... I will warn you that the camera work on this is not good. I can't see my display screen very well through my polarised sunglasses, and this combined with me walking over uneven ground means the camera spends a lot of time tilted funny and swooping around. Maybe skip the visual part of this if you get motion sick.

Say hi on Instagram: https://instagram.com/leveninlied

 
  ottawa bluffs 5 6 16 hd
Greg Prunty
 
   
 
About

Jan 13, 2017

 
  Minnesota River Final Draft 4112.wmv
iliketheoutdoors
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 5, 2012

A 26 mile journey from Mankato to the Ottawa Bluffs

   

 

Camcorder

           
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

Visits

9/17/2004

  10/9/2014            
 
 

Amphibians

 
  northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens)   northern leopard frog  
 

Birds

 
 

Two bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here (or seen in flight or nearby while standing on this site):

Special Concern

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

 
 

eBird Field Checklist

 
 

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

  Northern Cardinal  
 

Fungi and Lichens

 
  Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus (Dacryopinax spathularia)   Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus  
 

Insects and Arachnids

 
 

One insect and arachnid species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen here:

Special Concern

Texas ornamented jumping spider (Habronattus texanus)

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Insects List

 
  monarch (Danaus plexippus)   monarch  
 

Mammals

 
 

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

Special Concern

western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis)

 
         
 

Plants

 
 

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

Endangered

butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Threatened

beaked spike-rush (Eleocharis rostellata)

hair-like beak-rush (Rhynchospora capillacea)

sterile sedge (Carex sterilis)

whorled nut-rush (Scleria verticillata)

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List

 
 

Plants frequently found in:

Dry Hill Prairie (Southern) UPs13d

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland FDs37b

     
   

black-eyed susan

Canadian woodnettle

common mullein

leadplant

prairie rose

silky aster

white snakeroot

 

 

 

Binoculars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasqueflowers

In early April American pasqueflower can be found on the south-facing slopes of the prairie.


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