“By preserving this land in Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area, we have taken one more giant step toward realizing our vision of having a park or recreation area within 30 miles of every Minnesotan,” said P&TCM’s then executive director Dorian Grilley. “We are especially gratified to be able to give the gift of natural resources and recreational enjoyment to both current and future generations while also providing the local community with the many economic and health benefits that come along with parks and recreation areas.”
The $3.2 million land deal culminates a four-year roller-coaster ride for Greenleaf SRA, during which the Minnesota Legislature originally authorized it as a park in 2003 before reauthorizing it as a recreation area in March 2007. State funding for acquisition and development of the recreation area came slowly, making it necessary for Parks & Trails Council to step in and fill the financing gap.
“It’s been a long process, but I’m excited about the prospects for recreational development and land preservation in this part of the state,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, who has championed the recreation area both locally and at the Legislature. “This will provide a tremendous benefit to the residents of Meeker and McLeod counties.”
Sen. Steve Dille, who has also been a vocal supporter for the recreation area, echoed Rep. Urdahl’s sentiments. “I’m pleased that progress is being made with Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area,” he said. “I’ve maintained all along that the residents of Meeker, McLeod and western Wright County deserve the same access to a state park or recreation area as other Minnesotans. Now they will have that access. I’d like to thank the Parks & Trails Council for its role in making it all possible.”
The recreation area has several significant natural features including prairie and oak savanna and the peninsula and islands between Greenleaf and Sioux lakes – the two lakes located within Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area boundaries. Each of the lakes has relatively good water quality. Sioux Lake is a shallow lake that supports significant waterfowl populations. Greenleaf Lake is conducive to good fishing, mainly pan fish and small mouth bass. The wildlife populations present at the park site are typical of a largely agricultural area. The area also supports a relatively large deer herd and turkey population.
In addition to state support, the new recreation area also received a significant boost from the Meeker County Board of Commissioners in the form of a $300,000 no-interest loan made to the Parks & Trails Council. The loan ultimately made the land deal possible.
“Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area represents a long-term commitment by the state, the DNR and Meeker County to preserving a natural resource-rich area that likely would not have been preserved,” said Meeker County Commissioner Amy Wilde, whose district is home to the new recreation area. “We are excited that this wonderful recreation area, which will benefit all Minnesotans, is located in our back yard.