Once upon a pre-settlement time, there were 2,000 square miles of “big woods” around Lake Minnetonka. Fast-forward to today and discover a 5.8-acre parcel of land, Gideon Glen, featuring native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers and a maple basswood forest—all remnants of the big woods that once covered this region of the state.
Today, visitors can enjoy the site through recreation and education via trails and interpretive signage. Owned by the city of Shorewood, the site was restored in 2005 in partnership with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), Hennepin County, Met Council and Lake Fellowship of Unitarian-Universalists.
Elements of the restoration include an approximately 600-foot crushed rock walking trail with overlook spots and benches, restored wetlands, a grit chamber that captures debris from the runoff from County Road 19 and a stormwater pond to capture remaining pollutants.
“As our landscape has changed, we have lost many wetlands, which provide clean water and habitat for pollinators, birds and other wildlife,” Telly Mamayek, MCWD director of communications and education, says. “In addition to protecting an important natural resource, this site also provides access to the public for its education and enjoyment.”