LAKE BRONSON STATE PARK
From the observation tower in the park, view the prairie and aspen-oak forests or watch for deer, sharp-tailed grouse, moose and sandhill cranes. The South Branch of the Two Rivers fills Lake Bronson. The lake, which is actually a reservoir, offers visitors swimming, fishing, boating, great camping, and a tranquil backdrop for the picnic grounds. For those who prefer a prairie experience, one of the campground areas allows camping on the prairie. Trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling provide visitors with great recreation choices.
The park is a fine example of a transition area between prairie and forest landscapes and supports a variety of wildlife from the prairie-dwelling upland sandpipers and sharptail grouse, to the spectacular moose. Lake Bronson is one of the few sizeable bodies of water in the area and provides the visitor with an excellent swimming beach, good fishing, and enjoyable canoeing and boating. In winter, snowmobilers, skiers and hikers enjoy the park's network of trails through varying vegetation and terrain.
Thousands of years ago, glacial lake Agassiz covered the northwest corner of the state and extended into North Dakota and Canada. It was formed by glacial ice that blocked drainage to the north. The landscape in Lake Bronson State Park was formed as a result of the forces of this glacial lake. As the ice blockage to the north melted, Lake Agassiz began to retreat in stages, creating a series of gravel ridges along a generally flat terrain. The ancient McCauleyville beach ridge that passes through the park was formed during the final stage of the lake's retreat from Minnesota. Streams in the area usually meander quietly except when passing over a former beach ridge where rapids may exist. In time, eroded notches formed in the beach ridge. One of these notches was used as the site for the dam which backed up the South Branch of the Two Rivers to form Lake Bronson.
Moose, deer and occasionally black bear can be observed on a trail hike. The park has a sizeable bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian population with deer and sharp-tailed grouse among the most abundant.
The fact that the town of Bronson was renamed Lake Bronson attests to the important role the park lake played in local history. When the region was without lakes, the drought of the 1930s caused wells to dry up in the area. Unable to sink deeper wells because of a layer of salt, it was thought the only solution for the future was to dam the South Fork Two River and create a sizeable artificial lake. Dam construction began in 1936. Next a combination water and observation tower, beach and bathhouse were built. The dam and facilities were then turned over to the state of Minnesota and in 1937, the area became Two Rivers State Park. The park was renamed Lake Bronson State Park in 1945.