A Little Time and a Keyboard: Morning Amble Around Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis

Friday, July 3, 2020

Morning Amble Around Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis

Morning Amble Around Lake Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis

Morning Amble Around Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis

Minneapolis' Chain of Lakes beckons visitors to enjoy nature without leaving the city affording a range of adventures with downtown only miles away. Lake Bde Maka Ska, one of the chain's five lakes, has charmed us and we look forward to ambling around the lake during our visits to the area.



Serene morning view of Lake Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis
Serene morning view of Bde Maka Ska.
As the largest lake in Minneapolis, Bde Maka Ska treats visitors to a healthy 3.4 mile walk around its perimeter. While walking around the lake, you will notice the city popping up in the distance. However, majestic lake view will transport you far away from city living.

Minneapolis rises above Lake Bde Maka Ska.
Minneapolis rises above Bde Maka Ska.
During our morning walk, we spotted quite a bit of wildlife including duck families, goose families, a muskrat, a Great Blue Heron and more. The Chain of Lakes is an important birding area and includes Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary along Lake Harriet. While rounding the lake, we did observe quite a range of birds. However, I was especially touched to see the sweet duck families because we had not seen one home in Illinois yet!

A duck family crossing Lake Bde Maka Ska.
A duck family crossing Bde Maka Ska.
The hiking and biking paths around the lake were quite busy during our visit, so I did not expect to see a muskrat swimming! Yet, we did!

Muskrat swimming across Lake Bde Maka Ska!
Muskrat swimming across Bde Maka Ska!

We delighted in tranquility observing boats gently bobbing in one of the marinas. I imagined all the peaceful summer days and evenings spent sailing on the lakes.


Boats bob slightly in the marina of Lake Bde Maka Ska in Chain of Lakes Minneapolis.
Boats bob slightly in the marina of Lake Bde Maka Ska.
What is the meaning behind the name Bde Maka Ska?

You may ask what is the significance of the name Bde Maka Ska? The Dakota originally called the lake Mde Maka Ska meaning White Earth Lake. The lake was later named for Secretary of War John C. Calhoun who authorized the construction of nearby Fort Snelling. Responding to Calhoun's slave owning past, a movement began to change the name of the lake. The name of the lake was officially changed to Bde Maka Ska in the state of Minnesota in 2018. For a time, there was a question if whether the Minnesota DNR had the authority to change the name of the lake. On May 13, 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the DNR could indeed change the lake name. Today Bde Maka Ska honors the Dakota and once again bears a Dakota name.

Part of an iron sculpture honoring the Dakota at Lake Bde Maka Ska.
Part of an iron sculpture honoring the Dakota at Bde Maka Ska.
Bde Maka Ska importance as nature haven for Minneapolis extends far back. The lake is so important to city inhabitants that part of the reason the park board was founded in 1883 was to create a park for both Bde Maka Ska and nearby Lake Harriet.


Today, we are so fortunate to enjoy beauty and serenity at Bde Maka Ska. A host of nature activities are available including walking, running, biking, boating, fishing, kayaking, a range of sports and relaxing at the beach. We have found that the lake area can be a mix of peaceful nature exploration and jovial enjoyment of lake fun. Bde Maka Ska and the other Chain of Lakes set the scene for some our favorite Minneapolis memories. Truly a treasure!

Morning Amble Around Lake Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis



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