William H. Houlton Conservation Area (WHHCA) is one of Elk River’s most precious outdoor amenities. This 338-acre natural oasis was purchased from the Houlton family in 2014 by The Trust for Public Land, which works to protect, enhance and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game and wildlife habitats. Funding was provided through the Outdoor Heritage Fund, and upon acquisition of the land the property was donated to the city. With that protection and enhancement objective in mind, WHHCA visitors are encouraged to enjoy unparalleled bird watching, hiking, walking, photography, fishing and hunting (in accordance with state regulations) while also noting the following prohibited actions:
- No dogs (one exception explained below)
- No ATV or snowmobiles
- No bike or horseback riding
- No camping or camp fires
- No organized athletic or social events such as a wedding
Retrievers used by waterfowl hunters in season for the express purpose of retrieving downed game serves as the sole exception to the WHHCA dog restriction. Retrievers must be on leash from the parking lot until the hunter reaches the designated waterfowl hunting zone. The purpose of this rule is to prevent dogs from disturbing ground-nesting birds and other wildlife; as well as to ensure quality hunting opportunities for users of the property.
To learn more about WHHCA, or other Elk River outdoor amenities please visit ElkRiverMN.gov/ParkDirectory. For more information on Elk River’s controlled archery deer hunts visit ElkRiverMN.gov/2019DeerManagement.