Friday, December 20, 2013

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

One more bit of exposition...

The loving attention of generations of continental glaciers has covered most of the metro area with copious glacial drift. There are plenty of stories here for future posts, but for now I'll just make the observation that because of this, if you want to find bedrock outcrops in the Twin Cities, you need to find places where the glacial deposits have been cleared out. The best places for this are along the Mississippi River.

Many of you are familiar with Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, also known as MNRRA ("Minn-Ra") or MISS. MNRRA cuts a narrow strip from Riverside Park in Anoka County to Hastings, 72 miles (116 km) long. The National Park Service does not own most of the land within the boundaries; instead, MNRRA is a partnership park, in which the Park Service works in concert with a number of different landowners. State, county, city, business, educational, and any number of private entities are found within the river corridor. At this time, the acreage owned by the NPS includes some islands and the Coldwater Spring parcel between Minnehaha Park and Fort Snelling State Park. The river bluffs within MNRRA are the best places in the Twin Cities to observe the rocks and fossils of the metro. Of course, right now is not the best time to visit, but you can still stop by the Visitor Center in the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota. Many of the sites in the map (below) are of interest for geology and paleontology, and will be covered at some point. The site I have in mind for the next entry, though, is a bit outside...

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