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Crane Meadows
National Wildlife Refuge


Sandhill crane standing with wings spread
19502 Iris Road
Little Falls, MN   56345
E-mail: cranemeadows@fws.gov
Phone Number: 320-632-1575
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/crane_meadows/
Crane Meadows Refuge hosts one of the largest nesting populations of greater sandhill cranes in Minnesota.
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  Overview
Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1992 to preserve a large, natural wetland complex. The refuge is located in central Minnesota and serves as an important stop for many species of migrating birds. Located within a large watershed that includes Rice, Skunk and Mud Lakes, Platte and Skunk Rivers, Rice and Buckman Creeks, and sedge meadow wetlands, it harbors one of the largest nesting populations of greater sandhill cranes in Minnesota. Habitats include native tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and wetlands with stands of wild rice. With a total authorized acquisition boundary of 13,540 acres encompassing this important wetland complex and adjacent uplands, Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge presently exists as scattered pacels totaling about 2,000 acres.

The refuge serves as the base for the Federal Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Morrison County, which focuses on restoring drained wetlands through voluntary agreements with landowners.


Getting There . . .
Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located in Central Minnesota, approximately 30 miles north of St. Cloud and 6 miles southeast of Little Falls.

From Little Falls, follow State Highway 10 south approximately 2 miles and prepare for a left lane exit to County Highway 35 East. Travel approximately 4.5 miles to the Platte River Bridge and, after crossing the bridge, take the first left to the Platte River Trailhead and refuge headquarters.

From St. Cloud, take State Highway 10 north approximately 25 miles to County Highway 35 East. Travel approximately 4.5 miles to the Platte River Bridge and, after crossing the bridge, take the first left to the Platte River Trailhead and refuge headquarters.


Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The refuge lies in the transition zone between the more heavily forested land to the north and east and the original prairie to the south and west.

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History
Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge lies within the Rice-Skunk lakes wetland complex in Morrison County, Minnesota which has long been recognized for its wetland and wildlife values on a local, state and regional basis.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Interpretation
Photography
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
The refuge is still in the land acquisition phase. Management activities are directed toward restoration of altered habitats to their natural states. Prescribed fire and oak savanna restoration are major programs. Exotic tree species such as Siberian elm and black locust are mechanically and chemically treated to control their invasive habits.

Regular censuses are conducted to monitor wildlife population and vegetation trends. Undergraduate and graduate students use the refuge for various biological studies.