Myre-Big Island State Park, Albert Lea

4.0
#54 of 113 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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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
52 reviews
Google
4.6
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
  • I love this park. Never too crowded. Prairie, forest, Marsh, and lake. I've walked every trail here numerous times. Probably the nicest place in Southern MN.
  • Fun snowmobile trails. Saw lots of deer and even an opossum. Lovely wooded area for exploring. Saw people enjoying cross country skiing and hiking. I’m sure it’s beautiful year round.
  • Its a beautiful park with so many trails for hiking, cross country skiing or biking. The lake is very shallow but great for kayaking.
  • Nice park, but the roads can be very tight for a long truck and trailer rig, do to over hanging branches and trees next to the road.
  • You got to visit this park in the fall! Leaves are beautiful. We were there October 18, 2017. A wonderful day, a beautiful experience...
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