With your help, we’ve protected 483 acres of Bog for future generations!

Warren Nelson Memorial Bog

Size: 

120 acres

Activities at this tract:

Multiple land tracts to explore in our largest property! Botrychium Lane Hiking trail established in 2018 on western end of property (only for summer use), Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk (all season use), snowshoeing (no established trails), birding, photography, botanizing. Feeders are maintained along the boardwalk in winter.

Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk:

The Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk is a true gem within the Warren Nelson Memorial Bog! This boardwalk project was completed through hours of volunteer work and was funded partly by grants, donations from our membership, but especially by a very generous gift given by Warren Woessner. This 900 foot boardwalk cuts through a gorgeous stretch of Black Spruce Bog, giving the opportunity for folks of all ages and ability levels the chance to experience and get a feel for the magic within a Black Spruce bog! The boardwalk was officially opened in October of 2018 after many months of work by tireless volunteers, who we cannot thank enough. This boardwalk will also be a great tool for visiting school groups or other civic groups, and an attraction for the locals. Most folks would never think of bushwhacking into a bog but this boardwalk will allow them to explore an amazing  habitat without the fear of getting lost, breaking a leg, or getting wet feet. Thank you Warren!

Species of Interest: 

Many interesting species use this property in all seasons. Some highlights include Black-backed Woodpecker, Canada Jay, Winter Wren, Golden-winged Warbler, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, lots of Pink Ladyslipper and Goldthread seen off of the boardwalk, interesting spiders, diverse fern community including a healthy population of Rattlesnake Fern, and much more in both winter and summer!

Parking: 

Two parking spots on pullout off Blue Spruce Road near the sign and boardwalk (If parking on the road don’t pull over too far as this is a very deep ditch) Parking pull off at trailhead on west end of property as well (summer use only).

Signage: 

Large “Warren Nelson Memorial Bog” sign at SE corner of property; No signage yet at corners of property.

Location: 

Address- 7750 Blue Spruce Road, Meadowlands, MN

Trailheads- Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk- 47.075168, -92.661598; Bothrchyium Lane Trail (summer use only)- 47.071735, -92.67952

Directions: 

From Hwy 53: Head west on CR 133 from Hwy 53 and continue across Hwy 7. Warren Nelson bog starts 1/4 mile north of CR133 on the west side of Blue Spruce Road. To access west end of property, continue west on CR 133 for .5 mi to the trailhead on the western end of the property.

Bog Namesake: 

Warren Nelson of Aitkin loved all Minnesota’s birds but had a special affection for our rarer boreal species. He spent much time observing and learning the natural history of Great Gray Owls, Hawk Owls and Yellow Rails. When Warren passed away his friends in Aitkin County and beyond wanted to memorialize his significant contributions to the knowledge of boreal birds in northern Minnesota. In his unassuming way, Warren Nelson exemplified human dignity, kindness and compassion. He wove those same traits into his love of birds, and birders. Leading by example, his message was simply to treat other creatures, avian or human, with respect. Warren never asked for anything in re- turn for his birding services or expertise, choosing to give freely of himself with anyone who shared his passion for nature.

To honor Warren’s life while continuing to help promote the birds and habitats that fascinated him, a group of his friends came up with an idea to pay it back, while paying it forward by acquiring a bog parcel of land in Sax-Zim as a memorial. Friends of Sax-Zim Bog will hold the title to the land.

Recently, this property has expanded from the original 40 acres as donated in memory of Warren Nelson to 120 acres with the additional acreage donated by Gordon Andersson and Richard and Mary Brainerd. Here are some notes from our generous donors about their properties:

The first additions to the Warren Nelson Bog were made by Gordon Andersson including two 20 acre sections, one of which had been logged in the last decade. However, the site is growing back nicely into Tamarack and Spruce…and as Gordon said, “It’s still habitat for something!” True, Gordon, True. We are planning on eventually adding a spur from the Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk out into this new parcel…mainly to highlight the regrowth of a Black Spruce/Tamarack bog.

“Every dragonfly, orchid, bird, and moose needs a place to live for a season or through the year. The species may change over time as the vegetation cycles and conditions change. But saving land from building and row-cropping is saving habitat for non-human animal and plant species.”

— Gordon Andersson

The most recent addition to this property features at 40 acre section donated by Richard and Mary Brainerd. This property is an amazing addition and extension of the Warren Nelson Bog, with thick carpets of sphagnum moss and features a diverse forest, in both age and species composition. This property does include a hiking trail, which is summer use only. Here is a note from the Brainerds about this property:

“The Sax Zim Bog is incredibly important in preserving and protecting the birds, animals and vegetation of this beautiful and important area. We are so happy to be able to support the expansion of the preserved land, and we always feel fortunate to have experienced its unique beauty.We hope that more people will have that experience.”

— Dick and Mary Brainerd