Visitors are drawn to the Ottawa Bluffs Nature Preserve to see the unique oak savanna, which is among the most endangered ecological communities in Minnesota. Venture to the top of the bluff on the west side of the preserve and you’ll also enjoy sweeping views of the Minnesota River Valley, as well as have the chance to explore an American Indian burial ground. If you’re into botany, the bluffs are a great place to see pasqueflowers—the first prairie flower of spring—which can be found on the south-facing slopes, especially toward the top of the rises. Look for them in early April, as soon as the ground starts to thaw. The entire preserve is managed by a conservancy, which removes trees and brush from selected areas and then plants harvested prairie seeds to help restore the oak savanna and the diversity of species that live there.

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