This past spring my girl scout troop was working on a project to help save the monarch butterfly. We got loads of milkweed seed from a great organization called Save Our Monarchs, based in Minnesota. But where were we going to plant all that seed?? I contacted the City of Burnsville and they were kind enough to help me find a place.
I had never heard of the Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve before and I have lived in Burnsville for the past 6 years! When the City of Burnsville offered that we could plant there because it is a prairie restoration area I was intrigued. The Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve is located on the northwest side of Burnsville, near the Savage border off of Hwy 13. The history of the area is very interesting, and part of why I like it so much.
The preserve is a 75 acre prairie restoration area. Located near the Kraemer Quarry operated by Edward Kraemer and Sons, the nature preserve was completed and dedicated in 1994 as one of several environmental off-sets for the expansion of the quarry site in the mid-1990’s. It was originally intended to be only a mitigation site to offset wetland filling on a landfill owned by Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc. The owners decided to take the mitigation process one step further and design a restored natural area open to the public complete with parking and trails.
We planted the milkweed seed in the was spring. We were asked to plant on the west side of the parking lot. After planting there was no time to explore the preserve so we just left, but this past August I took my daughters to go check on the milkweed and see what else was there.
I am happy to report that we saw a lot of milkweed! ..and milkweed means butterflies! We had so much fun spotting butterflies and counting them (at least 8 monarchs spotted!)
Next we moved on to one of the most kid friendly hikes we have ever experienced. Pick up a brochure at the trail head. It includes a map (you don’t need a map because it is just a large circle, but it is so much fun for little ones to use as a guide) The brochure gives information on 8 different sites around the way. If you have a smart phone you can also scan the QR code at the kiosk to download the brochure.
The gravel trail is flat and wide, and it wraps around a large pond. There is a part of the trail that is a boardwalk so you actually get to cross over the pond. Cattails grow up right up to the boardwalk and tower over little kids. We saw a huge variety of birds, ducks and geese. There is also a great variety of wildflowers and native prairie grasses in the preserve.
It is a great park for being in a suburb. Both times we visited we didn’t see any other cars in the parking lot. However, you are in a suburb and you don’t really forget that while you are there. The park is bordered on one side by a neighborhood, which actually butts up to the backyards of some homes, and on the other side there are businesses. There are also large power lines running through the park that are kind of an eye sore. But overall I would definitely recommend it for a very easy to access park with a great trail for younger kids.