2.2.5 Unique Features and Scenic Areas

Each of the eleven subwatershed plans details the unique features and scenic areas found within.  Many of these features can be found in the many regional parks and protected areas within the watershed (see Figure 7).  These include the 3,445 acre Carver Park Reserve, about half the 2,670 acre Baker Park Reserve, and all or part of Gale Woods Regional Park, Big Island Regional Park, Lake Minnetonka Regional Park, and Noerenberg Gardens, all managed by the Three Rivers Park District.  Lake Minnewashta Regional Park is managed by Carver County.  Three regional parks are managed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board: Chain of Lakes, Nokomis-Hiawatha, and Minnehaha.  A portion of the watershed is within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRAA).  Finally, the DNR manages two Scientific and Natural Areas in the watershed: Wolsfeld Woods and Wood-Rill, both in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed.

Minnehaha Falls is an internationally known and recognized feature within this watershed.  Located upstream of the confluence of Minnehaha Creek with the Mississippi River, the 53 foot Falls is formed by erosion of the soft St. Peter sandstone underlying harder Platteville limestone. 

The Mississippi River Gorge contains numerous unique and scenic features, including springs and seeps.  The most notable of these is Camp Coldwater Spring, thought to be at least 10,000 years old and the largest limestone spring in the Twin Cities Metro Area.  It is a site rich in Native American history, and the location of a military encampment founded in 1820 that preceded the construction of Fort Snelling.