Officially named the William H. Houlton Conservation Area, Houlton Farm is a 347-acre property located along the riverfront at the confluence of the Mississippi and Elk rivers in Sherburne County. It is one of the largest undeveloped family-owned riverfront properties in the metro area.
Currently, the site is home to a mix of natural and agricultural lands. However, plans are in place to restore much of the property to be high-quality wildlife habitat. Roughly 160 acres of soybean and other farm fields will be converted to native prairie and savanna. The deep-rooted prairie plants will help retain and filter water, thus decreasing runoff and erosion into the Mississippi River. Floodplain forests located on the property will be restored, beginning with removing invasive shrubs that have negative impacts on native plant and wildlife populations.
Walking, photography and wildlife viewing are some of the activities which will be available when this park opens in fall 2016. It’s an excellent place to witness the long-term transformation of agricultural lands into habitat.