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A Brief Visit to Howard Creek at the Itasca State Park

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Published on Jun 8, 2011

One of Itasca State Park's hardly-kept secrets is the assortment of streams which empty into Lake Itasca, one of which - Nicollet Creek - was even labeled "Mississippi River" by the explorers Nicollet and Brower in the 19th century. Jacob V. Brower was the first Commissioner of the Park, and he determined that the head of a tributary of Nicollet Creek begins the longest perennial course of open water through the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, except for tributaries of the Missouri River. This stream is Howard Creek which springs from the hills and flows a mile to join Nicollet Creek which ultimately feeds into Lake Itasca.

On the way to Howard Creek at the start of this video, we hop across "Upper Nicollet Creek" which itself connects with Nicollet Creek after a short stretch underground. As it is a "landlocked" stream - starting and ending in the form of springs - one might wonder where the fish came from, but they could have entered by various means: fishermen dumping out their minnows, waterfowl carrying fertilized eggs from another site, etc. I already have a video featuring this stream (along with links to further information) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBJax7...

At about 0:55, we hear a bird with a peculiar call (pitched at E E E E E D C and repeated two more times) which turns out to be a black-throated green warbler according to an e-mail from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who listened to the audio track and kindly provided the identification.

After traversing a few ridges, we come to the Howard Creek valley. The video follows a short stretch downstream through a series of terraced beaver dams and then on toward the Gulf of Mexico as a modest little stream.

Of course one does not learn about such historically or geographically significant things in our federal and state-funded institutions. Check out a further discussion (with maps and photos) here: http://www.jlindquist.com/mapsupp6c.html

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