Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

About Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

The Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary is located just east of downtown along the east side of the Mississippi River. The park features 450 million-year-old limestone and sandstone bluffs, spring-fed wetlands, excellent bird watching opportunities, rich Native American history, and beautiful views of the downtown skyline and Mississippi River. An outdoor classroom, apiary, and interpretative markers provide added educational opportunities. There is no access to the Mississippi River from Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary due to the railroads still in use. 

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Restoration 

  • After a century of industrial use, the land lay vacant and blighted until a coalition of East Side and Lowertown residents (The Lowertown Phalen Creek Project), with the help of the City, launched an effort to purchase the land and transform it into the 27-acre Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.
  • Bluff restoration work at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Indian Mounds Regional Park began in April 2004.
  • Today, project partners are restoring the land's ecology and working with Dakota people to interpret Carver's Cave/Waken Tipi, a sacred area in a corner of the sanctuary.
  • Stormwater that previously flowed into the Mississippi River via storm sewers, is now recaptured by native plants and is stored in three separate clear water ponds and adjacent wetlands.
  • Mulch, incorporated into existing sterile soil, promotes the growth of new plantings.
  • Limestone rock slabs previously used in railroad operations form a waterfall, stone bridge, stairway and ponds.
  • Site remediation and stabilization work is ongoing.
  • Restoration priorities in 2005 focused on combating invasive species, slop stabilization, erosion control, and planting 7.5 acres of native trees.​


(Park Map)

Benches, Bird Watching, Educational Bee Apiary, and Hiking Trail