Scientific and Natural Areas

Find a Natural Area

Scientific and Natural Areas Program


Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas
What are they?

Fog over Lost Lake Peatland SNA, Visit the Wild Places

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Scientific and Natural Areas are exceptional places where native plants and animals flourish; where rare species are protected; and where we can know, and study, Minnesota's fascinating natural features.

They protect natural features of exceptional scientific or educational value including:

They may also contain:

Examples include:

Protection of multiple sites in each landscape region is a vital means of capturing the genetic diversity and preventing the loss of important species, communities, and features. This strategy observes the wisdom of not putting all our eggs in one basket.

Characteristics that distinguish Natural Areas include:


Scientific and Natural Areas are open to you 24/7 for hiking, birdwatching, nature photography, and other activities that do not disturb natural conditions. Visiting guidelines will help with your experience as well as this list of things you can do and rules. You may see management activities such as prescribed burns and control of invasive species. Research equipment is also sometimes seen on sites.