The Sandhill Crane Natural Area is located in north central Anoka County, within the City of East Bethel. The Sandhill Crane Natural Area is comprised of 533 acres of biologically significant lands which are unique to the Twin Cities metropolitan region and also notable to the state of Minnesota. It is an example of the diverse native prairie and oak savanna plant communities that once dominated the landscape.
At the time of European settlement, the uplands in the Sandhill Crane Natural Area were dominated by oak openings and barrens oak savanna plant communities. Wet prairies, marshes, and sloughs dominated the lower areas around the lakes. These wetland communities included tamarack swamps and fens, which were unique to the region at the time of settlement.
A Home to Wildlife
Today, the Sandhill Crane Natural Area still harbors numerous plant and animal communities that are relatively undisturbed by humans. The Sandhill Crane Natural Area and some of the adjacent lands are an outstanding resource, given its proximity to the vastly expanding metropolitan area.
Due to the unique ecological integrity of the SCNA, low impact, soft-surfaced trails and nature observation areas are the most desired recreational uses. Already existing foot paths seem to be logical trail corridors that will require minimal, if any, modifications and will provide nature oriented recreational experiences. Providing an area of handicapped accessibility, under the concepts of the universal design framework, will provide more people of different levels of ability an opportunity to have life-enriching experiences at the SCNA.
For more information regarding the Sandhill Crane Natural Area – please contact the Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department at 763-757-3920.