Banning State Park

BANNING STATE PARK

Wolf Creek Falls with rocks and trees
Wolf Creek Fall by Gary Alan Nelson - a trail on the land we helped acquire leads to these quaint falls.

About the Park

Map of Mn with star at Banning State Park

The wild and scenic Kettle River runs through Banning with its multi-faceted beauty. It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde river that changes from dramatic sheer-cliffs along roiling rapids to grassy shorelines along gently meandering waters. The trails follow the river and traverse the boulder-strewn landscape covered in a mixture of pine trees and aspens and maples. It’s a wonderland with many nooks and crannies created by the boulders.

In the late 1800s, Banning became famous as a sandstone quarry. That didn’t last long though as steel became the material of choice by the early 1900s, prompting the quarry to close. This was shortly after the great Hinckley forest fire of 1894 that swept through the area. The area became a park in 1963 and today, visitors can see remains of the old quarry along a self-guided interpretive trail.

Our Work by the Numbers

2

LAND PROJECTS
completed for
this park

228

ACRES
of invaluable
land saved

4

PERCENT
of the parks' total
acreage saved by us

317,750

DOLLAR VALUE
of land at time
of acquisition

Park Map Showing Project Sites

Our Project Stories

Saving the breathtaking boulders

Conservation Corps crew building a trail to the bouldering area at Banning
Conservation Corps crew building a trail to the bouldering area at Banning
Large boulder with people crouched around it
View of the unique sandstone boulders on the 108 acres added to Banning in 2015
boy climbing on boulder at Banning
Boy bouldering at the land we helped acquire for Banning, with Jeff Engel from MCA spotting

Project Years: 2013 - 2015

Project Acres: 108

This land is truly special as a destination for climbers due to its unique limestone boulders ideal for bouldering. For years, member of the Minnesota Climbers Association (MCA) had come here with the owners’ permission and grew connected to this place.

Eventually however the landowners’ situation changed and they put the land up for sale. The future use of the land for climbers was unlikely with a new private owner.

MCA came to P&TC and together we acquired the 108-acre parcel for the park. During the 17 months when we owned the land, we facilitated discussions between MCA and park managers to allow climbing while protecting vulnerable resources. By the summer 2014 Banning became the fifth state park to allow climbing. During this time we worked with MCA to build a road, parking area and trails to the bouldering area.

Opening key riverfront

View of the Kettle River in Banning State Park
View of the Kettle River near Teachers Overlook

Project Years: 1993 - 1994

Project Acres: 120

In 1993, a key area of Banning State Park was up for sale. The land was located just south of the most used area in the park with the Kettle River running through it. The scenic shoreline on both sides provides ideal land for recreational trails. The Minnesota DNR was originally given the option to purchase from the owners, but did not receive enough legislative funding to act. We were able to step in to act as an intermediary to purchase the land that year and incorporate it into the park the following year.

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