Lawrence Creek SNA






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Minnesota DNR




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.




Lawrence Creek SNA was designated on 6/12/2017.












Detail map (MN DNR)


Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates

  Printable map      



71.8 acres




N45 22.769, W92 41.235


Driving Directions

  Area and County  

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          Chisago County  
          Central Minnesota  

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

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Laurentian Mixed Forest Province

  Ecological Section    

Southern Superior Uplands
Western Superior Uplands

  Ecological Subsection    

Mille Lacs Uplands
St. Croix Moraine

  Land Type Association    

Almelund Moraine

Polk Basalt Moraines


Native Plant Communities*


Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till)

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest

Red Pine - White Pine Woodland (Eastcentral Bedrock)


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

Natural Features


Exposures of Cambrian-Ordovician rock formations

Floodplain forest

Trout stream






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.”






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    Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA  

Entrance Trail

    Lawrence Creek SNA      

Forest Road

    Lawrence Creek SNA   Lawrence Creek SNA  
    Lawrence Creek SNA      


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

Special Concern

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)


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




Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fishes List

  brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)   brook trout  

Fungi and Lichens


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fungi List


Hoof Fungus (Fomes fomentarius)

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

  Hoof Fungus  

Insects and Arachnids


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Insects List


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)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List


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)

Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

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 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 (Canadian 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













Unusual Bird Sighting

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.



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