Wending streams, backwaters and rare forest birds — Come with us to Gores WMA

If you ever look at a Google map and see wending backwaters and lush green islands just east and south of downtown Hastings, you've seen the Gores Pool "WMA" from above. 

We're excited to offer two great ways to get to know this beautiful but lesser-known natural area: a virtual bird's eye view plus a hands-on habitat restoration outing with FMR ecologists. 

Fly above Gores

Gores Pool Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is 6,459 acres of floodplain forest, marshland and backwater along the Mississippi River and Vermillion River Bottoms in Hastings.

Known for its outstanding biodiversity, Gores is one of the largest expanses of floodplain native plant communities in southeast Minnesota. It's also one of the top four sites in the state for rare forest birds, including cerulean warblers and red-shouldered hawks.

Check out this beautiful drone footage from videographer and FMR volunteer Mike Durenberger for a hawk's eye view.

The small river in the first half is the Vermillion, a rare cold prairie river and the heart of FMR's Vermillion Stewards program. At roughly the midway point of the video, you see its confluence with the Mississippi River in roughly downtown Hastings, with Lake Isabelle in the background.

In the second minute of the video, you can see areas that FMR is restoring, including the floodplain forest and prairies (the mowed-looking areas).

Join us here to plant trees!

Get to know and help restore this area in person. Join FMR ecologists and stewardship staff the morning of Saturday, September 18th.

Together with our friends from Mississippi Park Connection, we'll plant over 130 trees and shrubs in the savanna and maple-basswood forest.

Learn more at the event page! Or sign up now (capacity is limited and registration required) with Sophie Downey at volunteer@fmr.org.