About Us

Join the Friends of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park on Saturday July 27th for family fun at the park. From 1 to 3 pm, we will have nature painting for children of all ages (those under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult). Watercolor supplies and brief instruction will be provided. First come first served- supplies are limited. From 2 to 4 pm, we’re having an ice cream social! Meet the friends group, learn about their goals, and enjoy the park. Ice cream treats will be distributed at the picnic shelter. Quantities are limited. 

Wildflower pictures taken April 20 and May 3rd, 2019. The wild flowers are doing their thing, so be sure to come see them soon. There will be Park Ambassadors at the park on weekends to answer questions.

Having a great time at the Candlelight Event Feb. 2!

Raking the area to be seeded.
Seed Collection.

We will be seeding the grant project area on Wednesday Nov 7th, from approximately 9 am to noon. Come help if you can, it probably won’t take long (but that’s what we thought about the trees…) Work off your election hangover!

Help is needed to spread seeds in the worked up ground near the picnic area. When finished, this area will contain native flowers and grasses giving visitors a chance to see them and their pollinators at work. The restoration project is funded by a grant from Parks & Trails Council of MN. In case of significant rain (or snow), we will select an alternate date.

Natural Playground 2018

Restoration Project 2018

The Friends of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park proudly announce that 2019 Calendars are now available for a $12.00 donation. These lovely calendars feature pictures that were taken and donated by park visitors. Each month show-cases a scene from the park. Calendars may be purchased from the Friends website or at the Park Office. Proceeds will be used for the purchase of park benches, heritage trees, and expansion of a natural play area near the shelter.

We are looking for people that would like to donate trees as a memorial, or for any other reason.  Please call the Park Office if interested – 507-384-6140.

Tree Planting 2017

Park Bench Installation
Park Bench Installation

We are looking for volunteers to help with a new Friends effort- growing native plants for the park. This will consist of planting collected seeds from the park and caring for young plants at your home the following spring, and then planting them at the park. You can participate in any or all of these steps- be a foster parent for a plant! Please contact us if you are interested.

Geocaching in the Park.
Geocaching in the Park.

Prairie Hike Sept. 12th
Prairie Hike Sept. 12th

Friends of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is a community organization devoted to preserving and enhancing the experience of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Through various activities and efforts we seek to sustain the natural beauty and ecology of the park, support interpretive and environmental education programs of the park, advocate for the park, promote awareness of the park’s resources, and provide volunteers and support when needed.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is a true gem. Nestled in arguably the largest Maple-Basswood forest in the state, it offers beauty in each season of the year. During the winter, Hidden Falls ices over providing spectacular photo opportunities. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing and snowmobiling are available.

Columbine are blooming at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.
Columbine are blooming at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.

The spring wild flowers are spectacular. Hepatica, bloodroot, trillium, anemone, jack-in-the- pulpit, wild ginger, and the endangered dwarf trout lily are some of the flowers one can encounter. The May 2014 Backpacker Magazine featured Nerstrand Big Woods State Park as one of the best wildflower hikes in the country. About the North loop, It said, After the snow melts but before the trees leaf out, the understory in this forested park sparkles with flowers—including the cream-colored Minnesota dwarf trout lily, a federally endangered bloom found in only a few counties. Hike this 4.8-mile loop late April through May for the showiest displays. From the park office, take the west branch of the Hidden Fall Trail north for a broad patches of buttery marsh marigold and dwarf trout lilies. Link the Fawn, Hope, Beaver, and White Oak Trails past Hidden Falls’ wide 10 foot curtain; look for daisy-like bloodroot, the puffy V shape of Dutchman’s breeches, and white and violet Hepatica throughout.

Summer activities include geocaching, archery, naturalist led hikes, and many others.

The fall colors at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park are spectacular. A hike along the trails will entice a person to take countless photos.