Lake Bronson State Park

Perhaps the best place to appreciate the magnificence of Lake Bronson State Park is the observation tower. From here, visitors get an overview of the prairie and the aspen and oak forests. The park is the home of sandhill cranes, upland sandpipers, moose, deer, and sharp-tailed grouse.

Lake Bronson, in actuality a reservoir, has picnic grounds and visitors can swim, fish, boat, canoe and camp. The lake is filled by the South Branch of the Two Rivers and it is one of the biggest bodies of water in this area.

There are also campground areas on the prairie, as well as trails for hiking and biking during summer and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling during winter. Both the vegetation and the terrain will vary on the trails.

On a trail hike, visitors will mainly encounter moose and deer. Occasionally, they may come across a black bear. The park has a sizeable population of animals—birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The sharp-tailed grouse and deer are the most abundant animals.

Geology

Lake Bronson State Park is a fascinating place for those interested in geomorphology, the scientific study of the formation of landforms.

Many thousands of years ago, the entire northwest part of the state including parts of both North Dakota and Canada were covered by a glacial lake, a result of glacial ice blocking northern drainage. The natural, geological forces of Lake Agassiz created the landscape of Lake Bronson State Park. As the northern ice blockage melted, Lake Agassiz retreated and created gravel ridges on the flat surface. The McCauleyville beach ridge is part of this ancient process, and it was formed when Lake Agassiz retreated. As quiet, meandering streams passed over the beach ridges, they eroded notches and the site for the dam was created using an eroded notch in the beach ridge. The South Bank of the Two Rivers now feeds Lake Bronson.

History

Visitors are often fascinated to learn that the park evolved out of a life-and-death crisis that threatened the town of Bronson and the surrounding region.

Although Lake Bronson appears to have been there forever, it did not exist until a drought in the 1930s stimulated the idea of creating lakes in the region. Previously, the local residents relied on wells, but the drought was so severe that it dried out the wells and they had to come up with a new solution. Initially, an attempt was made to sink deeper wells, but layers of salt prevented this idea from working. It was finally decided that the only way to save the town of Bronson and preserve the future in this region was to dam South Fork Two River.

Construction on the dam started in 1936, and then came the observation and water tower, followed by a beach and bathhouse. In 1937, the entire project, the dam and its facilities, was transferred to the state of Minnesota and the Two Rivers State Park was formed. It was not until 1945 that the Park was renamed Lake Bronson State Park in honor of the town of Bronson.

Today the park is a favorite place for people who like to view its diverse wildlife, appreciate its innovative history, contemplate its ancient geology, and explore its variegated landscape.

Highlights

Lake Bronson State Park is well known for many highlights, including the place to see the world’s largest Jack Pine. The park also has the biggest observation and water tower in the Minnesota State Park system and recognized for its historic WPA-built structures. It is also appreciated for its excellent prairie as well as its aspen parkland habitat. Visitors from across the United States consider it a wonderful place to enjoy a camping and hiking vacation.

Managed Office Hours

As with most state parks, office hours vary, although the best time to contact someone to ask questions or make a reservation is between 8 am to 4 pm. If nobody is available, it’s advisable to leave a number.

Contact Information

Lake Bronson State Park is located at County Highway 28, Lake Bronson, MN 56734. Inquiries and reservations can be made by calling telephone number: 218-754-2200.

Directions

Lake Bronson State Park is two miles east of Lake Bronson town and it can be accessed on County Highway 28.