Saturday, May 24, 2014

Garrison Rest Area - Mille Lacs Lake Wayside

Garrison, MN
US Highway 169, just south of Garrison.

This rest area was constructed in 1937-1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) working in cooperation with the Department of Highways and the National Park Service. Significant changes were made beginning in 1969.

The wayside had a kitchen shelter (partially demolished 1998) built by the CCC in 1937 on a rise in the southern half of the area, two brick picnic shelters near the parking area (1969), a restroom building (1969), and two drinking fountains (1969). The geological marker is missing and the restrooms replaced with porta-johns.

Geological Monument (1953) pedestal, the missing plaque read:
Geology of Minnesota. Mille Lacs Lake Region.

This part of Minnesota was covered by glacial ice, several thousand feet thick, on at least four occasions during the last million years. As the glaciers moved in from Canada they brought with them enormous quantities of glacial drift -- clay, sand, gravel, and boulders of granite and limestone --which was deposited in sheets or in irregular hills and depressions along stationary ice fronts. One such zone, a terminal moraine, formed during the last or Wisconsin stage of glaciation 10,000 years ago, encircles Mille Lacs on the west and south, from Nicholas to Isle, and effectively dams the water to form the second largest lake in the state.  
Mille Lacs is 18 miles long and 14 miles wide. Its surface is 1,249 feet above sea level and its depth -- 30 to 40 feet -- is quite uniform throughout. The overflow of the lake is discharged through the Rum River which flows from Vineland to Anoka about 70 miles to the south, where it empties into the Mississippi. 
Erected by the Geological Society of Minnesota in cooperation with the Department of Highways, State of Minnesota, 1953.

Boat launch

Parking area

The rest area encompasses a large area along Highway 169, beginning in the south with an access road off Hwy 169 which continues to the parking areas, and the land between the highway and access road. The state data sheet notes, "The overall integrity of the property has been changed considerably."¹

¹  Susan Granger, Scott Kelly, and Kay Grossman. (1998, December). Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways. Minnesota Department of Transportation.