Nearly thirty years ago thick woods is all that could be found around Minneopa State Park near Mankato. But one man, saw something special as he looked over the land. He saw a way to turn it into a place where everyone could enjoy the outdoors as much as he did. So, decades ago, Lloyd Vollmer's life took an unexpected turn. Lloyd Vollmer says, "Its so flat here, perfect spot to build an outdoor nature center for the handicapped or anyone who wants to use it."
He had a vision for developing what was then 56 acres of woods right next to Minneopa State Park. Lloyd says, "It's amazing to look around and see this is all wilderness now, and this was nothing, but woods when we took it over, so its quite different."
He saw the potential of the land and after some negotiations, Williams Pipeline Company donated the land. Williams Nature Center was created, slowly shaped over the years. It now boasts winding paths and river outlooks. "If you leave this Earth better than when you came in you've done your part." Lloyd has done his part, and then some. "It seems like when you bet on a project you keep going after it, it was worth every bit of it." At almost 85, Lloyd is worried what will become of what he has created. Lloyd says, "People like to destroy things I guess. Vandals out here."
But the reward comes from those who now have the chance to enjoy what he's built... "I like to see families out here..." Lloyd Vollmer, a KEYC, Jefferson–Good People award recipient.