Whitewater State Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 44°03′30″N 92°03′32″W / 44.058297°N 92.058773°W / 44.058297; -92.058773

Whitewater State Park CCC/WPA/Rustic Style Historic Resources
Sign at the south entrance to the park on Minnesota State Highway 74
Location Winona County, Minnesota, On MN 74 between St. Charles and Elba
Nearest city Elba, Minnesota
Governing body Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
MPS Minnesota State Park CCC/WPA/Rustic Style MPS
NRHP Reference # 89001661
Added to NRHP October 25, 1989
Historic caretaker's cabin.
Hiking trail in autumn
A damaged bridge in 2007

Whitewater State Park is a Minnesota state park in Winona County in the southeastern blufflands area of the state. The 2,700 acres (11 km2) park features scenic overlooks and excellent trout fishing in the spring fed Whitewater River and Trout Run Creek. It has about 300,000 visitors annually, and is located 7 miles (11 km) north of St. Charles on Minnesota State Highway 74 which runs through the park.

Historic structures[edit]

Many of the buildings and other structures in the park are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.


The bedrock here is lower Paleozoic sedimentary rocks, with limestone and dolomite especially prevalent near the surface. It is highly dissected, and the Whitewater River has cut deep valleys into the bedrock. It is an area of karst topography.


The park is located where the Rochester Plateau Subsection and the Blufflands Subsection meet, both of which are part of the Paleozoic Plateau section of the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province.[1]

2007 flood[edit]

The August 18 and 19, 2007 Midwest flooding caused extensive damage to the park. The park is in the Driftless Area, where soils are thin and less able to retain water; they lie atop porous rock into and through which surface waters can rapidly drain into the water table.[2] The steep hills and bluffs and deep coulees give steep gradients to the drainage and makes streams highly erosive. As the rains far exceeded the absorption rate of the soils, flash floods rapidly overflowed the river and spread across the valley floors.

About 500 campers were staying in the park at the time.[3] Three bridges were destroyed, and campgrounds, bathhouses, a group dining hall, and water and sewer systems suffered extensive damage. Damage was in excess of four million dollars,[4] and the park was closed to the public on August 20, 2007,[5] and remained closed the balance of the year. On March 1, 2008 it partially reopened, but many of its amenities still had unrepaired damage.[4]


  1. ^ Ecological Classification System, Paleozoic Plateau Section, Rochester Plateau Subsection, and The Blufflands Subsection; all published by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
  2. ^ Ojakangas, Richard W.; Matsch, Charles L. (1982). Minnesota's Geology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-0953-5. 
  3. ^ "Flooding shuts down state's No. 2 campground, ruins hatcheries". Rochester Post-Bulletin. 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  4. ^ a b Whitewater State Park partially reopens, Minnesota Public Radio, March 1, 2008.
  5. ^ "Flooding". MN DNR. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 

External links[edit]