• Voyageurs NP Locator Lake Scene

    Voyageurs

    National Park Minnesota

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Plants

bearberry
Bearberry creeping over the rocks.
 

Voyageurs National Park lies in a transition area between the southern boreal forest to the north and temperate deciduous forest to the south and east. It is composed of a variety of ecological systems, including conifer forests, hardwood forests, bogs, swamps, marshes, rocky outcrops, and lakeshore environments. The park is home to over 50 tree and shrub species, over 40 fern and moss species, over 200 grass, sedge, and rush species, and over 400 wildflower species.

Historically, fire and wind were the primary influences on the park's ecosystems. Today, past logging, beavers, exotic plants, and climate change affect these ecosystems. To increase awareness of some of these issues and promote the benefits of native plants, the park created an ethno-botanical garden on the grounds of the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. In addition, the park is cultivating a native plant nursery to assist with re-vegetation efforts in disturbed areas.

Check out the Plant and Animal Guide on the brochures page.

 

Trees & Shrubs
Traveling the waters of Voyageurs, one can enjoy the same views the French-Canadian voyageurs witnessed – majestic white and red pine interspersed with spruce, fir, aspen, birch, jack pine, and red maple. Disembarking on a rocky shoreline, one can find the same delicious blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and hazelnuts that sustained the voyageurs on their journeys as well as the bearberry they smoked in their pipes and the birch bark they used to patch their canoes. Woody plants, whether six inches or 100 feet in height, continue to thrive in the park as they have done for thousands of years.

 
Asclepias Incarnata (Milkweed)

Asclepias Incarnata (Milkweed)

Wildflowers
From the earliest violets in spring, to the last asters in fall, the forests and wetlands of Voyageurs are alive with color. Over the course of the season, watch the colors change as over 400 wildflowers bloom.

Ethno-botanical Garden
Many of the plants found in the park have been used by people for centuries. Some of these plants are important sources of food, while others have been used for shelter and clothing. Visitors to the garden can learn what these plants are, how they were used by earlier residents of the area, why they are important, and how exotic plants harm native plant communities.

 

Native Plant Nursery
Resiliency – the ability to withstand threats and bounce back from disturbances – is key to healthy ecosystems. Natural plant communities are inherently resilient, and the best way to ensure their survival is to preserve the native plants that compose those communities. Staff collect seeds from plants within the park, grow them in a greenhouse and plant nursery, and replant the developed native plant in places altered by use or development.

 

Exotic Plants
The forests and wetlands of Voyageurs are healthy, but they are also threatened. One of the more significant threats is exotic plants. These are plants that are not native to the region. Some of these exotics are relatively harmless, while others have the potential to take over large swathes of habitat, displacing the native plants and the animals that depend on them. Staff work diligently to prevent these invaders from establishing in the park, and to remove them when found.

Did You Know?

A small campsite on Rainy Lake has a food locker, picnic table, tent pad sites, fire ring and a privy.

There are food lockers, picnic tables, tent pad sites, fire rings and a privy at many of the sites.