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Some Minneapolis beaches now home to turtle nesting sanctuaries

Minneapolis working to protect nesting turtles
Minneapolis working to protect nesting turtles 01:52

MINNEAPOLIS -- June is typically the time when turtles nest in Minnesota.

It means a lot more turtles are crossing roads so they can get to a beach to lay eggs.

It's a risky move, and the Minneapolis Park Board is doing what it can to help preserve the turtle population. 

On a gorgeous day at Bde Maka Ska, there's a portion reserved for some of the area's smaller and slower moving residents.

A turtle nesting sanctuary has been blocked off on a sandy portion of Thomas Beach to allow soft shell turtles to lay eggs without being scared away. This year there's also a sanctuary on Lake Harriet

"When those little turtles hatch, you know, probably in August, early September, they will learn to come back here again and again," said MaryLynn Pulscher with MPRB's environmental education team.

Snapping turtles and painted turtles will try to dig a nest in a grassy area. They're more likely to cross roads, putting them in danger.

"Over the last several years we've had a lot more people calling to say, 'Hey, I saw a turtle, I saw a turtle, there's a turtle that was killed on the parkway,'" Pulscher said.


Residents can now also report a turtle, dead or alive, that they see in Minneapolis. So far this year, 400 turtles have been reported.

"People are really passionate about parks and they're really passionate about wildlife, and so wanting to help and protect is something that's really high on their list," Pulscher said.

The ultimate goal is to better protect the turtles by creating better habitats, and even altering roadways to better accommodate turtle crossings.

"They're … an indicator of water quality. They're awesome, they're very charismatic," Pulscher said. 'Everybody loves to watch turtles."

MPRB hopes to launch a volunteer program where residents can adopt a turtle nest to help monitor it.

Click here to report a turtle on the road in Minneapolis.

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