FT 3
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park: Rare Bluffland Plant Communities of the Paleozoic Plateau

Saturday, August 3, 2013: 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
Level One, Reg Area, 3rd Ave South Lobby, Minneapolis Convention Center
Mark White, Department of Natural Resources,; Shawn Fritcher, Department of Natural Resources; Rich Biske, The Nature Conservancy; and Hannah Texler, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Hannah Texler, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park contains some of the best examples in the state of bedrock bluff prairies, algific talus slopes, and other ancient plant communities unique to the Paleozoic Plateau, a landscape that escaped the Wisconsin glacial period. This extraordinary landscape features deep stream-incised bluffs, a mosaic of forest, savanna, prairie, and cliff plant communities, 172 state-listed rare species, world-reknowned cold-water trout streams, and karst features such as extensive caves, disappearing streams, and cold-water streams, seeps, and waterfalls. Discussions will include the challenges of protecting and managing fragmented bluffland habitats in a largely agricultural area, predicted impacts of climate change, ecological restoration of degraded habitats, managing fire-dependent plant communities, and new collaborative initiatives to protect and sustain biodiversity on a watershed basis. We will hike to a variety of bluffland plant communities featuring rare species and karst features. Web links: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/ forestville_mystery_cave/index.html www.driftlessareainitiative.org/

Registration Fee: $80

Equipment and Attire: Participants need to be prepared to hike trails on steep slopes, which will be moderately strenuous. They should wear sturdy hiking boots and layers that allow for temperature fluctuations from hot to cool.

Itinerary: 1. 7:00AM - Leave Minneapolis Convention Center for Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park to arrive by 10:00 am. 2. 10:00 am - Guided hikes in the park, with a stop for box lunches, to be complete by 3:00 pm. 5. Leave Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park to travel back to Minneapolis Convention Center to arrive by 6:00 pm.

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