The city currently owns and manages 490 acres of open space protected in 14 park preserves ranging in size from two to 111 acres. These natural areas encompass much of the Bluff Creek corridor as well as many other treasured wetlands and woodlands.
Lake Riley Preserve, a beautifully wooded slice of lakeshore, is the smallest at just less than two acres. The largest park preserve is the Chanhassen Nature Preserve with 111 acres spreading across marsh, grasslands and mixed species forests from Century Boulevard to Galpin Boulevard.
These preserves have been acquired through a variety of conveyances – primarily land donations and cash purchase. These parcels and their associated open spaces contribute greatly to the quality of life for area residents, serve an important role as wildlife sanctuaries, and help protect property values.
Many of the city’s walking trails are located in or adjacent to park preserves giving the public ample opportunity to view the abundant wildlife that call these areas home.
Bird watching is a favorite pastime where a dozen or more varieties can be viewed in a single outing. Ducks, geese, pheasant, wild turkey, deer, coyote, red and gray fox, muskrat, beaver, and mink are commonly spotted while visiting these wild lands.
Forest and grassland management projects are underway on certain portions of the preserves as efforts continue to restore and protect these areas for future generations.