Glendalough State Park

By Jim Umhoefer
Trails Reporter

Otter Tail County. About 4 miles north of Battle Lake off of Highway 78. 

Highway map index: D-12.

Prior to becoming a state park in the mid-1990s, this 2,000-acre mix of elm and basswood forests, fields, hills and unspoiled lakes had been managed as a natural wildlife preserve. Land stewardship continues to be a hallmark of Glendalough State Park.

Glendalough was established as an 80-acre camping retreat in 1927. Named for a monastery and city in Ireland, Glendalough was first owned by Fred Murphy, publisher of the Minneapolis Tribune. During the Depression, Murphy expanded the original acreage, establishing a turkey and game farm. When the Cowles family purchased the Tribune in 1941, Glendalough came with it. The family soon started vacationing here in a cluster of cabins known as the Glendalough Camp. Cowles Media also used Glendalough Camp for entertaining corporate guests and occasional VIPs (including Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon). Visitors hunted waterfowl and walked the fields for upland game.

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