By Jim Umhoefer
Murray County. 14 miles northeast of Slayton and about 33 miles southeast of Marshall. Park access is off of County 38, north of Currie. Highway map index: D-19.
Loon Island is a bird sanctuary connected to this park by a causeway. Ducks, owls, woodpeckers and many other birds live here. Some nest in the dead elm trees that were stricken with Dutch elm disease and now resemble a stark winter woods in the midst of summer. You'll probably hear lots of bird and animal sounds on the island; the rat-tat-tat of a redheaded woodpecker, the scolding of a squirrel or the slap of a beaver's tail hitting the water by the shoreline.
Lake Shetek (translated as "pelican" in the Dakota Indian language) is southwestern Minnesota's largest lake and is the headwaters of the Des Moines River. The 3,600-acre lake is famous among visitors from Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota who come to catch walleyes, northerns, bullheads and crappies off Loon Island and along the causeway. Kosak's Bay, up the shoreline from the park, is a good spot, too. The park has a drive-in boat access near the causeway. Read more: