Myre-Big Island State Park, Albert Lea

4.0
#54 of 84 in Nature in Minnesota
Myre-Big Island State Park is a state park of Minnesota, USA, just outside the city of Albert Lea. It has an area of 1578acre. The park protects 8mi of shoreline on Albert Lea Lake. The nucleus of the park is Big Island, a 117acre island attached to the mainland by a causeway. In turn a causeway connects Big Island to Little Island. The park was formerly named Helmer Myre State Park after former Minnesota State Senator Helmer Myre.Natural historyThe park is situated on the Bemis Moraine, which marks the southern extent of a glacial lobe during the Wisconsin glaciation 10,000 years ago. As the glacier retreated, the moraine caused the meltwater to back up behind it. Albert Lea Lake was created as a moraine-dammed lake and today covers 2600acre. The park also contains an esker, a sinuous ridge of sand and gravel dropped by a stream running under the glacier.The mainland is primarily vegetated in oak savanna with several wetlands. Restoration ecology projects, including controlled burning and water retention strategies, are ongoing to maintain and improve these habitats. Big Island, protected from the wildfires that suppressed tree growth in the savannas and prairie of southern Minnesota, bears a closed forest savanna which looks like an old growth hardwood forest. It comprises maple, basswood, elm, green ash, ironwood, and red oak, with willows along the lakeshore. Albert Lea Lake is highly eutrophic. Moraine dammed lakes typically fill in, but this process has been exacerbated by agricultural runoff.
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Myre-Big Island State Park Reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • We decided to stop at Myre-Big Island to break up a long drive, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. The park is quite extensive and has well-marked and well-maintained trails through all sor...  more »
  • We are lucky to have this park near our home town which makes it easy for us to hike there often.We have seen deer, turkeys, woodchucks, eagles, pelicans, and many other kinds of wildlife on our hikes...  more »
  • Wanted to be off grid for a few nights to recharge ! The time my two dogs was worth every bit of time got to explore !  more »
Google
  • You got to visit this park in the fall! Leaves are beautiful. We were there October 18, 2017. A wonderful day, a beautiful experience...
  • We had #9 campsite on the Big Island and enjoyed the wildlife (we saw many deer) and privacy of the site. The site had a great canopy to keep us cool and good proximity to the bathrooms (no electricity though). It's a great park for bikes, but with the dogs, we enjoyed the trails on the island which were tree covered. The only reason i didn't give it a 5- bathrooms are a bit more dated that most of the state parks we've been to and have 2 showers for the ladies.
  • The lake is big, but pretty shallow. You could walk around probably half of it and keep your head above water. Also pretty weedy. The island is really interesting. It has a thick canopy of hardwood trees -- you can hardly see the sky or even the lake on most of the island because the trees are so dense. Most years, though, the mosquitoes are unbearable on the island.
  • Myre-Big Island is a phenomenal state park. Well managed and maintained with activities for everyone. Hiking, biking, fishing, boating, wildlife observing - it can all be done here. For a more rustic experience you can hike in or boat in to the backpacking sites. The best part - it's only 1.5 hours from the Twin Cities!
  • We went for a short walk around the Big Island and drove around to Little Island. The park seems very nice with at least three types of terrain to hike: forest, marsh, and prairie. The trail was pretty easy and had some nice views of the woods and lake. We were surprised there were no mosquitos, too! We'll be back to see more of this park!

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