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McCarthy Beach State Park

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McCarthy Beach is a state park located in the French Township in St. Louis County in Northwestern Minnesota. It is found on the Sturgeon Lake chain. Many glaciers traveled throughout Minnesota. The first glacier stopped where McCarthy Beach is found now. This glacier left low rolling hills called moraines.[1] Between these hills, valleys were formed, and these valleys left what we call lakes. When the park’s owner, John A McCarthy, died he passed down the property to his daughter, who then sold it to a lumberman. In 1945, the local community persuaded this lumberman to sell the property to the state, and it was declared a state park. In 1985, the Swan River Logging Company built a railroad on Sturgeon Lake. These trains hauled logs to the logging camp along the Swan River, which flowed into the Mississippi down to the sawmills in Minneapolis.

McCarthy Beach State Park is a total of 2,471 acres in area, and managed now by the Minnesota DNR.[2] Highways Magazine rates this beach one of the top 17 beaches in North America. It is connected to 4 different Sturgeon lakes and Side Lake. There are many trails for hikers, cross country skiers, and people who snowmobile. The rugged terrain has provided many homes and habitats for different wildlife. More than 175 species of birds visit this area. 33 different species of other wildlife inhabit this park, including white-tailed deer, black bears, timber wolves, chipmunks, red squirrels, raccoons, and several types of amphibians and reptiles. The Taconite Trails add hundreds of miles of additional trails, and they are lined with red and white pines and leather leaf-black spruce lowlands.[3]


[1] A moraine is formed when unconsolidated glacial debris of soil and rock accumulate.

[2] McCarthy Beach State Park. (12 April 2010). <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthy_Beach_State_Park>. Dec 1 2010.

[3] Minnesota. (2010). “McCarthy Beach State Park”. <http://www.stateparks.com/mccarthy_beach.html>. Dec 1 2010.

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