As one of the Northland Arboretum’s core pillars, conservation is at the top of our priority list. We partner with The Nature Conservancy, the Department of Natural Resources, and our local Soil and Water District to ensure our management practices are the best they can be. The land we manage is not only enjoyed by our members and visitors, but is the home of numerous plants and wildlife, some of which are quite rare for this area. As you wonder through our winding trails and take in nature’s wonders, please keep in mind that our rules are in place for the safety and protection of this natural gift.
The Northland Arboretum has nearly 500 acres of natural, protected habitats. Some interesting areas to visit include the Jack Pine Savanna, the Red Pine Plantation, and Whiskey Creek; all of which have there own unique ecosystems just waiting to be discovered! The Jack Pine Savanna is one of only 5 in the State of Minnesota. The Red Pine Plantation on the northern trails of the Arb are a part of an old growth forest and tend to be great nesting areas for bald eagles. Whiskey Creek winds through the southern part of the Arboretum, allowing our Monet Pond to be a home to a variety of ducks, beaver, otter, and heron. The creek then filters through a wetland into the Mississippi River. No matter where you sit, the Northland Arboretum has a story to tell and beauty to behold.
Although the majority of the Northland Arboretum is kept in it’s natural state, the gardens allow visitors to marvel at the work of our dedicated volunteers. One of our model gardens is in the front of the Visitor Center and was re-established in 2015 by a group of Crow Wing County Master Gardeners. This is the Rain Garden and serves that purpose by taking the runoff from the parking lot and filtering it before it makes its way to Whiskey Creek. Many hours of research and installation went into creating this masterpiece and many more hours are contributed annually to make sure it is maintained. Other fine gardens are found around the grounds including a vegetable garden which provides produce to the community food shelves, a gazebo garden which is a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch or afternoon wedding, and the Memorial Garden where visitors can take a calm moment to reflect. Volunteers make an effort to maintain the gardens by using native plants and labeling them so that visitors may understand the species that thrive in this grow zone.