New Prairie and Bison Tour at Blue Mounds State Park
LUVERNE, Minn.- Minnesota used to be covered in prairie land, but state officials say there’s only one percent of native prairie left. A new tour at Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne is embracing Minnesota’s roots and highlighting the park’s bison herd.
“We really want to let people experience and enjoy that experience and to also kind of explain why prairie conservation and bison conservation are so important,” said Amber Brooks, Interpretive Naturalist with Blue Mounds State Park.
Until this year, the park’s Bison Range was closed to the public. However, on the park’s new tour, people can see the prairie land, and you might even spot the herd. Nowadays, there are more than 120 bison there.
It’s a hands-on experience. You can’t get close enough to the bison where you can touch them, but tour guides do have examples of their fur on hand so you can still feel what it would be like to pet them.
The tour is a 90-minute ride where you’re surrounded by wildflowers and other plants. It’s not guaranteed you’ll actually see roaming bison, but staff members say it’s still a great experience.
“Being able to go out and to see the area that those bison live in and even just to see the evidence of them being there, the footprints, the fur that’s left behind and potentially seeing the herd yourself, it’s all such a special experience,” said Brooks.
No matter what, staff members say it’s very educational.
“The tour is really meant to be an interactive conversation to learn a lot about the prairie itself as well as the bison that live in the prairie, but it’s also a time to ask any questions someone may have or to learn a little bit more about our bison here at the park,” said Brooks.
Plus, there’s always the opportunity at the start of the tour to check out commercial bison owned by a nearby rancher.
The park hopes people will appreciate all the prairie has to offer, because it’s something you don’t get to see everyday.
The tour is for adults and kids 4 and up. It costs $6 for kids 4 to 12 and $10 for everyone else. For more information and to book a tour online, click here.