The Fascinating Archaeological Discovery That Put This Minnesota Park On The Map
There’s a fascinating
Minnesota archaeological site in a Wadena County park that sets it apart from your run-of-the-mill riverfront park. Come see what makes Old Wadena Park so special.
At first glance, Old Wadena Park looks a lot like any other riverfront county park in Minnesota, with a picnic shelter, a campground, and hiking trails.
The shelter is new - it was rebuilt, and the park underwent considerable restoration, after an EF-2 tornado tore through it over Memorial Day weekend 2022.
What you don’t see at first is the rich cultural and archaeological history of this land.
It was the original site of the town of Wadena - hence the name - which now stands 15 miles west of the park.
The park lies at the confluence of the Partridge and Crow Wing rivers.
Its also situated along the former “Woods” route of the Red River Oxcart Trails, which Voyageurs used to carry furs overland to Lake Winnipeg and on to Hudson Bay.
This was also where the “Battle of Partridge River” took place in 1783.
A band of Dakota attacked a Voyageur/Ojibwe fur trading outpost, challenging their presence in traditional Dakota hunting territory.
Signs of these different human uses of this land still exist in the park.
There’s even some more modern history to discover in Old Wadena - the Crow Wing River Canoe Trail was the first Resource Conservation and Development project in the United States. So, bring your canoe or kayak when you visit the park to enjoy this historic water trail!
Follow along with YouTuber Where the Cat Goes as she explores more of Old Wadena:
Be sure to pay a visit to the Wadena County Historical Society and Museum - in present-day Wadena - to learn more about Old Wadena, as well as the greater region, its history, and the people who have lived here.
While you’re in the area, make sure to visit the 1,400 foot pier at nearby Dower Lake Recreation Area – it’s the
longest pier in the state of Minnesota. And, as always, before you head out on the trail, make sure you’re prepared with everything you need for a day hike. For more information about Old Wadena Park, visit the park’s page on the Wadena County website.
Have you visited Old Wadena? Had you even
heard of Old Wadena before? Let us know in the comments!
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Old Wadena Park & Campground, 13491 Old Wadena Cir, Staples, MN 56479, USA