Lake Pulaski History

 

Lake Pulaksi Beach

When driving on Highway 55 today, it is nearly impossible to conceive of the changes in the landscape made by 130 years of farming and settlement of this area. Once this lake area was a part of the region known as the "Big Woods." The heavy forests covered this entire area, only beginning to thin out beyond Cokato. The earliest white settlers tell of forests made up of "large hardwoods such as white elm and basswood that touched branches, cutting off the sunlight, and growing so thickly that a traveler could often see only a rod ahead. The white elms grew to four to six feet in diameter and stood over 100 feet high. Burr Oak, ironwood, red elm, tamarack, butternut, and ash trees grew so thickly that the ground under them was damp and marshy from rains which could not evaporate quickly in the deep shade. Sugar maples, wild plums, black cherry and willow trees added color to the forest in spring and fall. Mosquitoes were plentiful, for the shallow pools were kept from evaporating by the shading forest, and myriads of insects hatched out daily. The forest was interspersed with many natural meadows."

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