Metcalf Observing Field
Altitude: 890 feet
Metcalf Field is a fenced-in lot located 15 miles east of downtown St. Paul and six miles north of Afton State Park. The observing field is within the lands owned by the Belwin Conservancy. In spite of moderate light pollution from surrounding communities, it provides MAS members on the east side of the metropolitan area a convenient observing location.
The Belwin Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and appreciation of our natural world. Belwin Conservancy currently owns nearly 1,400 acres in Afton and West Lakeland Township, MN comprising one of the largest privately owned nature preserves in the area. The Belwin Center and the trails near it are probably Belwin’s most iconic spot. This portion of the property houses Belwin’s headquarters and is used by the Saint Paul Public School System’s Belwin Outdoor Science Environmental Learning Center. Belwin Outdoor Science runs throughout the school year, and operates several summer programs that together host over 10,000 students every year.
MAS members may visit the Metcalf site at any time. The entrance to the field is gated, but it is not locked.
Parking is on the grassy observing field. As you enter and depart the site, drive carefully – there will be equipment, vehicles, and people scattered about the site.
Warming & Restrooms
There currently is no warming house at Metcalf. One Porta-Potty primitive outhouse is located on the east side of the field and is serviced as needed.
110VAC electrical power is available from a power feed pole on the east side of the field.
Site Manager Contact Information
For further information about Belwin and the Metcalf Field, contact MAS site manager.
Directions to Metcalf Field
To reach Metcalf, head east from St. Paul along Highway 94. About four miles east of the I-694/I-494 crossing is Minnesota State Highway 95, also known as Manning Avenue (exit 253).
Turn south/right and then almost immediately turn left onto the frontage road (Hudson Road South). Continue east on the frontage road for about 1.5 miles.
Turn right onto Indian Trail, checking the odometer as you turn. Follow Indian Trail south for just about 1.1 miles, where you’ll see an unmarked chain-link gate on the right, opening onto a dirt driveway with slight up-slope. This is the the entrance to Metcalf.