Big Woods, MN

This area to the west of the Twin Cities featured 3,000 square miles of red oak, white oak, sugar maple, basswood and elm forest prior to settlement by Europeans. About 1% of this forest remains in several parks and natural areas.


Old growth maple, oak and ash, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Minnesota.

Old growth maple, oak and ash, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Minnesota. Photo: Dave Hansen, University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Bloodroot in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Minnesota.

Bloodroot in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Minnesota. Photo: Lee Frelich.

Earthworm and deer impacted old growth maple and oak forest in Wood-Rill Scientific and Natural Area, western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Earthworm and deer impacted old growth maple and oak forest in Wood-Rill Scientific and Natural Area, western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Dave Hansen, University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Old growth maple and oak forest not impacted by earthworms and deer in Taylor's Woods, Elm Creek Park Preserve, western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Old growth maple and oak forest not impacted by earthworms and deer in Taylor's Woods, Elm Creek Park Preserve, western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Dave Hansen, University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.