Experience city nature

Saint Paul may be an urban environment, but there are many opportunities to escape into nature without even leaving the city. In fact, there are 2,300 acres of natural areas that take you along rivers and lakes, through prairies and forests, and into the peace and quiet.

These natural areas – and the plants and wildlife within them – are often threatened by invasive species and habitat fragmentation. In order to preserve, restore, and maintain these urban oases, Parks and Recreation staff from the Environmental Services Unit take an active role in managing the land. Explore the links below and experience city nature. 

  • Learn about innovative management techniques used to manage natural resources.
  • Register a geocache and learn the rules for placement in Saint Paul parks.
  • Explore ways pollinators are protected within the City. 

Want to spend time outdoors, learn something new, and make the environment a better place?  Volunteer with Environmental Services!

Hidden Falls and Mississippi River

About Environmental Services

Habitat management within Saint Paul is conducted and overseen by Saint Paul Parks and Recreation's Environmental Services Unit, which is dedicated to preserving, restoring, and maintaining natural area parks. The Environmental Services Unit restores vital and unique plant communities, monitors the natural resources in parks, and provides interpretation and education to the public through engaging year-round events. This work is accomplished through collaboration, coordination, and strong partnerships with community members, local nonprofits, and governmental agencies:

  • Capitol Region Watershed District 
  • Conservation Corps Minnesota
  • Friends of the Mississippi River
  • Great River Greening
  • Lower Phalen Creek Project
  • Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • National Park Service
  • Ramsey Conservation District
  • Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District 

The Environmental Services Unit follows integrated pest management (IPM) best practices while managing Saint Paul natural areas. More information including the updated Operations Division IPM program can be found here

Last Edited: July 7, 2023