Superior Marsh — Head off the beaten track

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It was May 20, 1996, when the Dickinson County Conservation Board decided to purchase a 40-acre piece of property quite a distance from its headquarters.

What is now known as Superior Marsh is located 1.5 miles northeast of Superior and 1.5 miles east of Swan Lake and originally included 31 acres that was part of the Conservation Reserve Program. The approximately $20,000-purchase also received a Wildlife Habitat Stamp Fund grant for $5,689 and major contributions from Dickinson County Pheasants Forever.

A land management plan was put together, and the Dickinson County Conservation Board’s new property was accepted into the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetland Reserve Program. Work began in 2001 with shallow water excavation — removing surface material to create a shallow pool — and continued with the seeding of a mix that included natives such as big bluestem, sideoats grama, black-eyed Susans, gray-headed coneflower, purple prairie clover and more.

With both wetland and upland areas on the small parcel, Superior Marsh makes for wonderful habitat for a variety of species including amphibians, turtles, songbirds, waterfowl and small mammals.

The park is open to public hunting and is a great place for avid birders to check species off their bird lists. The different habitats on the land also offer spectacular photographic opportunities, from capturing avian species in flight to flowers blooming and the vibrant sun shining down on native grasses.

Superior Marsh is the perfect place to hike off the beaten track. Prairie and wetland vegetation flourishes in the area, so make sure to wear a pair of waterproof boots when traipsing across the land.

To find Superior Marsh, located at 3380 130th St. in Superior, take Highway 9 east of Spirit Lake and turn north onto 340th Avenue just east of Superior. Drive for about two miles and the park will be at the corner of 340th Avenue and 130th Street with the parking lot located just west of 340th Avenue.

With eight parks and even more public areas, the Dickinson County Conservation Board has a variety of gems for the public to explore to help foster an appreciation of the natural world. See a new series of Youtube videos on each park, coming out periodically in 2016. Check out the Superior Marsh video on the DCCBnaturecenter Youtube channel.

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