Created In 1974

Sunfish Lake Park was created in 1974 through the City’s purchase of property offered by civic-minded landowners at below market value to avoid its transformation to a huge housing development. The following links give the details of that transaction, and more recent efforts to protect the Park, including the 2009 Conservation Easement agreement between the City of Lake Elmo and the Minnesota Land Trust organization. Scroll down to an edited version of the plain text of Judith Blackford’s history below, or click on the links for more information. The annual Sunfish Lake Park Family Nature Day is a signature event begun in 2015.

Most likely, Sunfish Lake was first formed when the land was scraped by the most recent glacier, which melted out about 15,000 years ago. It collects water from approximately one square mile of surrounding agricultural and residential property. The lake has a nominal extent of about 50 acres but the surface area is quite variable depending on levels of precipitation. In June 2018 we measured the deepest point as 16 feet, but the water level was quite a bit higher in early Summer 2021 – maybe 3-4 feet more—and has since receded significantly. These changes are especially noticeable at the northwest arm of the lake, which has gently sloping banks, so a small increase in water level results in a large change in surface area. The shoreline of the more southerly section tends to be more steeply banked. Our fish survey of June 2018 found only sunfish up to 7.5 inches long. Since that survey, it has been reported that carp (goldfish or koi) have been introduced – the survey should be re-done this year. If you are interested in participating, please email us at There is ongoing work on the water quality of Sunfish Lake, details will be made available on the same website page when the work is at a reportable stage. 

Excerpt from “History of Sunfish Lake Park”

Compiled by Judith (Moris) Blackford, former member of City of Lake Elmo Parks Commission
In 1974, the City of Lake Elmo Village Council, Planning Commission, and Park Advisory Board distributed a fact packet (Attachment A) to residents of the City describing a proposed $725,000 (equivalent to perhaps $5,000,000 today) Park Bond Budget. The elected and appointed City officials were proposing and seeking community financial support to purchase and preserve undeveloped farmland and private open space for City park use. The Lake Elmo Park Advisory Board members finding this parkland and working with landowners were Don Dau, David Morgan, Jess Mottaz, Mike Johnson, Ruthmary Logue, Ed Nielsen, and Diane Trudeau. Others mentioned in this fact packet were the City of Lake Elmo Village Council: Mayor Maynard Eder, Councilmen (Robert) Bruce Abercrombie, Calvin Brookman, Lloyd Sherwheim, and Francis Pott, and William Lundquist, Chair of the Planning/Zoning Commission. The Parks proposed and purchased through the passage of this Park Bond were Sunfish Lake Park, Demontreville Park, Reid Park, and Tablyn Park.

To read more, here are the links to the parts of this book:

Scroll to Top