General Mills Nature Preserve
9201 Olson Memorial Highway
(General Mills Blvd to Betty Crocker Dr, then west. Trail is on the right.)
The General Mills Nature Preserve features three distinct habitats: shallow marsh, wet meadow, and floodplain forest; more than 50 different native plants; interpretive signs; and a half-mile trail that connects to the City’s trail system. Its location at the southeast corner of the Hwy 169 and Hwy 55 interchange makes the Nature Preserve visible to the greater community.
History of the Nature Preserve
At the turn of the 21st century, City officials and General Mills executives were faced with a challenging set of problems: improve the intersection at Hwy 55, Boone Ave, and General Mills Blvd to accommodate increased traffic, protect the intersection from flooding in certain conditions, and restore wetlands disturbed by the project.
Together they looked for an environmentally driven solution, ultimately combining resources to develop the General Mills Nature Preserve. To make the project work, General Mills donated land it bought in the 1950s for future office development. The City developed the area for floodplain storage and wetland mitigation, and a permanent conservation easement through the Minnesota Land Trust forever preserves it as a nature area.
Adding such a large nature area is rare for a fully-developed, first-ring suburb like Golden Valley. In this case, the spirit of public/private cooperation has resulted in a stunning natural wetland that preserves Minnesota’s ecological heritage and leaves a legacy that will be enjoyed by generations to come.