Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Long Meadow Lake Unit

 

 

     
 
About
 
 

Ownership

 
 
 
     
 

Links

 
 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 
     
 

Overview

 
 

The Long Meadow Lake Unit is one of eight units that make up the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It is the most visited of the eight units. It lies on the north bank of the Minnesota River just south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Fort Snelling State Park lies just across the river. There are more than 18 miles of hiking trails. Casual visitors can hike the 1 mile Hillside Trail or the 1.3 mile Bass Ponds Interpretive Trail. For a somewhat longer walk, there is the 7.3 mile north loop trail. Serious hikers can take the 16 mile south loop trail.

 
     
 

History

 
 

 

 
     
 

Management

 
 

In the spring of 2013 USFWS began an oak savanna restoration project on 5 acres near the Bloomington Visitor Center.

 
     
 

Comments

 
 

 

 
     
 
Location
 
 

Maps

 
 

Long Meadow Lake and Black Dog Units Trail Map

 
         
 

Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates

 
         
         
 

Size

 
 

2,400 acres

 
         
 

Parking

 
 

There are five designated parking areas for this site (see refuge map). For the north loop, park at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center on American Blvd. or at the Bass Ponds Area at the end of E. 86th St. For the south loop, park at the Lyndale/Russell A. Sorensen Landing at the end of Lyndale Ave. When the river level is high, usually in spring, the Lyndale parking lot is under water. There is no parking at the Old Cedar Ave. area.

Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd. East
Bloomington, MN 55425
N44 51.635, W93 13.047

Bass Ponds Area, E. 86th St.
N44 50.864, W93 14.138

Lyndale/Russell A. Sorensen Landing, Lyndale Ave. S.
N44 48.143, W93 17.345

 
         
 

Hours

 
 

Sunrise to Sunset for approved activities, including federal holidays

 
         
 

Fees

 
 

No fee

No National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota charges a fee

 
         
 

Driving Directions

  Area and County  
 

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

   
          Hennepin County  
          Metro Area  
     
 
Activities
 
 

Hiking Trails

 
 

According to the USF&WS there are 14.6 miles of maintained hiking trails on this unit.

Casual visitors can hike the 1 mile Hillside Trail loop at the Visitor Center area or the 1.3 mile Bass Ponds Interpretive Trail loop at the Bass Ponds area.

For a longer walk, hikers can take the 7.3 mile north loop trail. Park at the Visitor Center. The Long Meadow Lake Trail starts at the Visitor Center and follows the north bank of the Minnesota River to MN Hwy 77 (Cedar Avenue). A pedestrian bridge attached to Cedar Avenue crosses to the south bank of the river. From there, the State Corridor trail follows the south bank of the river to I-494. A pedestrian walkway crosses back to the north (east) side of the river and a trail leads back to the visitor center.

Serious hikers can take the 16 mile south loop trail. Park at the Bass Ponds parking lot. Take the Bass Ponds Interpretive Trail to the Hogback Ridge Trail and follow that to Cedar Avenue. Continue west on the Bluff trail through oak forest to the Russel A. Sorenson Landing on Lyndale Avenue. From there, follow an unnamed trail that closely follows the bank of the Minnesota River. At Cedar Avenue continue east on the Long Meadow Lake Trail to the Visitor Center. From the Visitor Center take American Blvd. E. to Old Shakopee Rd., which leads back to the Bass Ponds parking lot.

 
     
 

Hunting

 
 

No public hunting opportunities are found at Long Meadow Lake, Black Dog Units, Bloomington Ferry Unit, Upgrala Unit, Chaska Unit, or San Fransisco Unit

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

   
  Ecological Section    

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

   
  Ecological Subsection    

St. Paul-Baldwin Plains and Moraines

   
  Land Type Association    

Pig’s Eye Alluvial Plain

   
             
 

Native Plant Communities*

   
 

Black Ash - (Red Maple) Seepage Swamp

Bulrush Marsh (Northern)

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest

Sedge Meadow

Silver Maple - (Virginia Creeper) Floodplain Forest

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

Natural Features

     
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Kirk Nelson

 
 

Trail

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Bloomington office buildings

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Bridge and stream

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

The Old Cedar Avenue Bridge is open for bicycles and pedestrians.

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Spring Flooding

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Bee House near the entrance to the Visitors’ Center

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Long Meadow Lake Trail

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Spur Trail leading to Long Meadow Lake Trail

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Observation Platform Overlooking Peterson Pond

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Bass Ponds Entrance

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Bass Ponds Parking

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Bass Ponds Interpretive Trail

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Bass Pond (Shallow Lake)

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Alternate Trail, Long Meadow Lake Service Road

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Old Cedar Ave. Bridge

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Bluff Trail

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Mound Springs Spur Trail

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Pond

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Intermittent Stream

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Boardwalk

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Russel A. Sorenson Landing

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      
           
 

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
 

Sand Dunes in Silver Maple Floodplain Forest

 
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit  
           
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit      

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
  Long Meadow Lake
Ken Wolter
 
  Long Meadow Lake  
 
About

Long Meadow Lake, Bloomington Minnesota

 
  Long Meadow Lake
Craig A. Mullenbach
 
  Long Meadow Lake  
 
About

part of the Minnesota River Valley Nature Reserve.

 

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Trumpeter Swans..Long Meadow Lake, MVNWR..Bloomington, Mn.
pefawa
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 28, 2012

Trumpeter Swans pair for life, and each pair returns to its nesting area in spring as soon as the weather allows. Territories are established that average 30 acres, sometimes more than 100 acres, and are vigorously defended...the adults even exclude their own offspring of previous years. The male performs such territorial defense, but the female participates in mutual "triumph ceremonies" after territorial disputes and also helps defend the nest site. Both sexes help construct the rather bulky nest, which may require a week or more. The eggs are laid at two day intervals, and no incubation is performed until the clutch is complete. Thereafter the female performs all the incubation, while the male defends the nest. Most of the cygnets hatch within a few hours of each other and are led from the nest within 24 hours of hatching. The nest may later be used for resting or brooding, but often the brood is led some distance from the nest for rearing on quiet and secluded ponds.The fledging period is approximately 100 days which takes up the entire summer and makes it impossible for birds to re-nest in the event of nest failure..

Typical breeding habitat consists of large, shallow marshes to shallow lakes, with an abundance of submerged plants and emergent vegetation. The emergent plants provide important nesting cover, and the submerged vegetation is the major food source.

   
  Trumpeter Swans..Long Meadow Lake..MNVWR..Bloomington, Mn.
pefawa
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 28, 2012

Trumpeter Swan nests are greatly scattered, owing to the extreme territorial behavior of the adults, and nest sites are usually used for several years. Island locations are preferred over shoreline sites, and when nests are built in emergent vegetation the water is usually between 12 and 36 inches deep. Sometimes muskrat houses or beaver lodges serve as nest sites..

Swans lay between 3 to 9 eggs, averaging about 5. Eggs are creamy white and somewhat granular. The incubation period is 32 - 37 days, usually about 34 days.

   
  Long meadow lake minnesota
reaj2010
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Feb 7, 2011

A small creek that comes out of the lake and flows half a mile to the minnesota river. Only fell thru the ice once lol.

   
  28 JUL 2013 North American River Otter
dalebunny
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 28, 2013

I saw these otters in Long Meadow Lake in the MN Valley NWR opposite Hog Back Pond.

   

 

Camcorder

           
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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Kirk Nelson

 
 

Amphibians

 
 

northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens)

  northern leopard frog  
         
 

Birds

 
 

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

  Red-bellied Woodpecker  
         
 

Fungi and Lichens

 
 

Jellied False Coral Fungus (Sebacina schweinitzii)

Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)

  Shaggy Mane  
         
 

Insects and Arachnids

 
 

common whitetail (Plathemis lydia)

curve-tailed bush katydid (Scudderia curvicauda)

  common whitetail  
         
 

Mammals

 
 

northern river otter (Lontra canadensis)

thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

  whitetail deer  
         
 

Plants

 
 

Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

nodding bur marigold (Bidens cernua)

  Dutchman’s breeches  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

Visits

11/3/2005

  10/18/2014            
 
 

Amphibians

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Amphibians and Reptiles List

 
         
 

Birds

 
 

Twenty-one bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:

Endangered

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)

King Rail (Rallus elegans)

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Threatened

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)

Special Concern

Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea)

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammospiza nelsoni)

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Purple Martin (Progne subis)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

 
 

eBird Field Checklist – Headquarters

eBird Field Checklist – Long Meadow Lake Trail

eBird Field Checklist – Bass Ponds

eBird Field Checklist – Old Cedar Ave. Bridge

eBird Field Checklist – Artesian Well

eBird Field Checklist – Bluffs Trail

eBird Field Checklist – Sorenson Landing

 
 

American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)

American Coot (Fulica americana)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)

Hairy Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus villosus)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

 

American Robin

Canada Goose

Dark-eyed Junco

Mallard

Mourning Dove

 
 

Fishes

 
 

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

Threatened

American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fishes List

 
         
 

Fungi and Lichens

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fungi List

 
         
 

Insects and Arachnids

 
 

Minnesota Bee Atlas

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Insects List

 
 

bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae)

little yellow (Pyrisitia lisa lisa)

  bald-faced hornet Nest  
 

Mammals

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Mammals List

 
 

American beaver (Castor canadensis)

American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
albino eastern gray squirrel

  albino eastern gray squirrel  
 

Plants

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List

 
 

Plants frequently found in:

Black Ash - (Red Maple) Seepage Swamp WFn57a

Bulrush Marsh (Northern) MRn93a

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest MHs37b

Sedge Meadow WMn82b

Silver Maple - (Virginia Creeper) Floodplain Forest FFs68a

     
 

 

American basswood (Tilia americana var. americana)

black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima)

bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa)

Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

Canada lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)

Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense)

Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis)

Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

common burdock (Arctium minus)

common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common reed (Phragmites australis)

common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

crown vetch (Securigera varia)

curly dock (Rumex crispus)

eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana)

eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus var. atropurpureus)

gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

green foxtail (Setaria viridis)

hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana)

Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica)

narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia)

narrow-leaved purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)

northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

Norway spruce (Picea abies)

plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera)

prickly rose (Rosa acicularis ssp. sayi)

quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea ssp. sericea)

red pine (Pinus resinosa)

silky dogwood (Cornus amomum ssp. obliqua)

smooth sumac (Rhus glabra)

stinging nettle (Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis)

sugar maple (Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum)

swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata)

velvet-leaf (Abutilon theophrasti)

Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum var. virginianum)

white campion (Silene latifolia ssp. alba)

white mulberry (Morus alba)

wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

wild oat (Avena fatua)

zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)

 

Abutilon theophrasti (velvet-leaf)

Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum (sugar maple)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Arctium minus (common burdock)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wild ginger)

Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Avena fatua (wild oat)

Berteroa incana (hoary alyssum)

Cornus amomum ssp. obliqua (silky dogwood)

Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)

Cornus sericea ssp. sericea (red osier dogwood)

Echinacea angustifolia (narrow-leaved purple coneflower)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Euonymus atropurpureus var. atropurpureus (eastern wahoo)

Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)

Hydrophyllum virginianum var. virginianum (Virginia waterleaf)

Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Lactuca canadensis (Canada lettuce)

Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed)

Morus alba (white mulberry)

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Phragmites australis (common reed)

Picea abies (Norway spruce)

Pinus resinosa (red pine)

Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera (plains cottonwood)

Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)

Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)

Reynoutria japonica (Japanese knotweed)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Rosa acicularis ssp. sayi (prickly rose)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)

Rumex crispus (curly dock)

Securigera varia (crown vetch)

Setaria viridis (green foxtail)

Silene latifolia ssp. alba (white campion)

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod)

Solidago flexicaulis (zigzag goldenrod)

Tilia americana var. americana (American basswood)

Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail)

Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis (stinging nettle)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

 

black-eyed susan

bur oak

common evening primrose

common yarrow

eastern wahoo

gray dogwood

narrow-leaved purple coneflower

prairie rose

Velvetleaf

Canadian wild ginger

zigzag goldenrod

 
 

Reptiles

 
 

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

Threatened

timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Amphibians and Reptiles List

 
 

common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)

  common garter snake  

 

 

Binoculars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birding Hotspots

The Long Meadow Lake Unit contains two birding hotspots, the Bass Ponds and Old Cedar Avenue Bridge. The best time for birders to visit is from early March to late June when migrating waterfowl and warblers rest here.


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