The site boasts a great biodiversity of marsh plants, birds and other wild creatures, as well as floating hummocks. It not only provides important habitat for flora and fauna, but allows human visitors to immerse themselves in a reflective and restorative place that provides a deep connection to nature.
The preserve has two miles of trails over nearly flat topography, which winds through the wetland offering solitude and scenery. During the winter months, the trail is groomed for classical-style skiing only. It is suitable for beginners but provides a satisfying experience for all levels of skiers. There also is an outdoor pleasure ice rink for recreational ice skaters.
The parking lot is located at 1825 Tower Drive in Woodbury. Please note: The parking lot at the Tamarack Nature Preserve is currently closed. The park and trails remain open, and parking is available on the street.
- Picnic tables
- Accessible play structure
- Pleasure ice skating rink (winter)
- Paved and unpaved trails
- Board walk
The Adopt-A-Park volunteer stewards of the Tamarack Nature Preserve aim to keep the site as close to its native state as possible, while educating and inspiring visitors of all ages and backgrounds to engage in environmental stewardship and enjoyment within the preserve.
Goals and Achievements
Volunteers work with the City of Woodbury and the Ramsey-Washington Watershed District to develop long-term plans for improving and conserving the natural state of the Preserve.
The team helps organize group tours of the preserve for people of varying abilities, ages and interests.
The volunteer stewards have developed a community-based field guide for the Tamarack Nature Preserve - using the iNaturalist app - and encourage visitors to add their observations to the guide.
The volunteers organize periodic volunteer service activities remove invasive species and collect trash.
Their work has inspired local residents and been recognized for its advocacy and community engagement model.
The volunteers designed a "virtual nature center" using new technologies, while working with partners to improve signage and create more accessible trails.
The ultimate goal is to encourage more visitors to the Tamarack Nature Preserve and to inspire a sense of conservation for this fragile and unique wetland.
Plan your Visit
The Tamarack Nature Preserve is open year-round, though the trail conditions vary based on the weather.
Set hours of operation aren't posted, as it is a non-staffed Nature Preserve; however, since there is no trail lighting, visitors are encouraged to go during daylight hours.
The preserve has several trails that meander through its diverse biomes. For that reason, we strongly recommend visitors study the map below, as formal way-finding trail signage is not yet complete.
There is a long trail around the perimeter of the entire preserve and two parallel north-south trails. The perimeter trail is paved asphalt along its southern and western portions, and “rustic” along the northern and eastern half. The two north-south trails are floating docks (uneven in some places) that traverse the Preserve’s fen. Rustic woodland paths on the Preserve’s perimeter are cleared of vegetation, either bare soil or covered with woodchips. They may be wet in some places and are accessible by foot year-around or cross-country skis in the winter. The non-paved sections of trail are not suited to bicycles.
While improvements are being planned to the woodland trails and floating boardwalks, they are relatively easy to traverse with good footwear, providing conditions are not too wet or icy. Small children will enjoy the simple playground near the parking lot, which also features a picnic table and portable toilets.
Please be aware that, as with any wild place, there are plants in the preserve you'll want to avoid touching. They include poison ivy, poison sumac, wild parsnip, stinging nettles (aka “itchweed”) and poison hemlock.
The most popular loop trail starts at the main parking lot off of Tower Drive. It takes about 30 minutes to cover at a relaxed pace, though the entire trail system is much larger. There are other access points to the trails from the Evergreen neighborhood to the north of the Preserve, as well as from Bielenberg Drive to the west, the Woodpark neighborhood to the south and the City Centre commercial development to the east (where local restaurants such as Caribou Coffee, Brueggers and Punch Pizza are located).
Make sure to bring a camera to capture and share what you observe, particularly if using a community-based nature app such as iNaturalist or eBird. Please also visit our Facebook page and share your sightings.
For general questions about this and other area parks and trails, contact the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department at 651-714-3583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This place of beauty needs our care
As a visitor to the Tamarack Nature Preserve, you can experience great health and wellness benefits from immersing yourself in nature. Please help keep this unique ecosystem as pristine and safe as possible - both for humans and for the wild living things that call the preserve home.
What makes the Tamarack Tree so special?
Larix laricina, also known as a tamarack or larch, is a deciduous conifer whose soft needles turn golden in the fall, drop from the tree and return each spring. The tamarack cones are tiny, and first-year growth starts as pink, then turns deep red followed by crispy brown by fall. Tamaracks grow slowly and need dry soil conditions to set roots, though they are often found thriving in wetlands. Tamaracks often make hospitable habitats for a great biodiversity of plants and, in turn birds and other animals.
What is a fen?
A fen is a wetland much like a bog, with a deep peat-based material, water and specialized plants. Unlike a bog, however, a fen is groundwater-dependent and the water flows (in this case, to Battle Creek Lake and on to the Mississippi River), making it less acidic than a bog. Floating hummocks (islands within a fen or bog that are not solidly tethered to the shore) can sometimes be observed slowly turning in the wind or by the flowing current. The Tamarack Nature Preserve is considered a "rich fen" as well as being classified as a "tamarack swamp." And even though the word swamp may have a negative connotation, it is a true scientific term that simply means a forested wetland. Think of it as one of nature’s great filtration solutions!
Imagine the Tamarack Nature Preserve 10-12,000 years ago
According to archaeological research, people have inhabited Minnesota for over 12,000 years. When this particular tamarack swamp was formed 10,000-12,000 years ago and the last glaciers in the region were retreating, mastodons, wooly mammoth and saber-tooth cats also roamed the area. Read this interesting historical piece from Minnesota Archaeology to learn more about the first peoples in our area.
What local plants are considered invasive species?
The Tamarack Nature Preserve has its share of unhealthy invasive plant species that choke out important native species and can change the nature of a whole biome. They include purple loosestrife and the narrow-leaved cattail, as opposed to the important native broad-leaved cattail. These are found within the wetland area. The woodland portion of the Preserve is invaded by buckthorn (a fast-spreading understory shrub), common burdock, common tansy, garlic mustard and wild parsnip. We are working with the City of Woodbury and the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District to find the best ways to remove these damaging species while preserving the home of native species that share the same habitat, and some of our group activities are directed to invasive species education and removal.