Janet Timmerman-In Murray County Minnesota, a now extinct lake
was formed during the last great Ice Age. It is called Lake
Great Oasis and is now entirely dry, but in prehistoric times
a village was located along its shoreline. The people who had
lived there vanished from the area more than 600 years ago.
They were first studied in the 1940's and have ever since been
called "The Great Oasis" people.
There in northwest Murray County, north of Hadley, was one
of the great wildlife areas of the northwest. It was surrounded
by 6,000 acres making up Bear, Rush, Crooked, and Great Oasis
Lakes and thousands of acres of prairie. It was said to be the
largest wooded area between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers
and had been protected from the gigantic prairie fires that
historically swept across southwest Minnesota (generally from
southwest to northeast).
The area boasted large stands of mature oak, elm, ash, linden,
hackberry, willow, ironwood, and cottonwood and a carpet of
ferns and wildflowers. An extra bonus was an abundance of wild
plum, grapes, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, elderberry,
Accounts from 1934 from three lifelong residents of the area
spoke of songbirds, quail, prairie chicken, duck and geese in
the millions, heron, bittern, and hundreds of varieties of shorebirds,
including willit, rails, and curlews. They refer to the yearly
return and nesting of the sandhill cranes and the wide assortment
of furbearing animals. The depositions both refer to professors
from the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State that
came yearly to study rare specimens not found elsewhere.
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Questions or concerns may be directed to CRRS
or the Murray County Water Resources Department at 507-836-6148