Wildflowers and Butterflies Abundant Around Lake of the Woods
In 1990, Governor Rudy Perpich declared 81 miles of Highway 11 a Minnesota Wildflower Route, in honor of the hundreds of thousands of Showy Lady’s-Slippers growing within sight of the road. The state put up signs depicting the Showy Lady’s-Slipper to mark the route, and pledged to expand the highway only to the south, protecting the masses of Showy Lady’s-Slippers on the north side of the road. The local people and wildflower enthusiasts gather in June for the annual “Wildflower Route Celebration,” at the Williams Senior Center in Williams, Minnesota.
More than two million orchids blanket the Lake of the Woods area. To catch a glimpse of these beautiful flowers, you’ll begin at the Lady Slipper Park in Williams, go through the town, then head west out to Blueberry Hill, located on the south side of Hwy 11. Please remember that it is illegal to pick or uproot the Showy Lady Slipper in Minnesota. However, you’re welcome to ”take” as many photos as you’d like!
For a free Wildflower Route Brochure and route map, just contact Lake of the Woods Tourism.
This is a self guided tour along this marked and labeled route featuring hundreds of the MN state flowers, the “Showy Lady Slipper” and the Yellow Lady Slipper which is one of the most common in the area with two variations, Large and Small. These beautiful orchids plus 50 plus other different wildflowers can be found in and around the 4+ mile route in Williams and at Blue Berry Hill park and camp ground, 4 miles west of Williams on Hwy. 11.
The featured guest speaker is Allison Snopek Barta, known as the “Butterfly Lady” and a Bagley, MN. Junior/Senior science teacher, is a advocate for the preservation of butterflies and moths, author of “On the Hunt for North Woods Butterflies” (a self-directed program to search out and photograph all of the butterfly species in the North Woods of MN), and most of all a life-long lover of flower gardening and butterflies. Allison has over 10,000 photos and has located 90 species of common and rare butterflies living her in the North Woods. Her research has been published in the National Lepidoplerist’s 2011 – 2015 Season Summaries and has had articles published in two national Magazines, also being honored with cover page photo publications. She will be researching the Wildflower Route Celebration event and eager to share what butterflies are in the Wlilliams and surrounding area and the stops that they make.