Newsroom Midwest Region

Celebrating the future and appreciating the past

Gem in the heart of Minnesota turns 80

May 31, 2018

Kayaking at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by USFWS.
Kayaking at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by USFWS.

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are celebrating Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, which was established 80 years ago today. The refuge has a wide range of habitats, from forests of tamarack, black spruce and balsam fir to ponds and wetlands. Take a moment to learn about this peaceful refuge and plan a trip to experience it first-hand.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in 1938 as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The landscape is characterized by rolling, forested hills interspersed with shallow lakes, rivers and marshes. Towering red and white pine intermingle with aspens, majestic old growth forests, jack pine barrens and tamarack-spruce bogs. Though the landscape has been altered by the influences of human history and past management, the refuge remains largely intact, retaining an untamed character for visitors to enjoy. From the vibrant emergence of spring woodland wildflowers to the rich colors of autumn and the quiet hush of winter, people come to revitalize their spirit and connect with a rich wildlife heritage.

When you visit, you’ll likely see bald eagles and a variety of waterfowl and warblers. Specific species to watch for include trumpeter swans, woodcock and golden-winged warblers. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of stealthy year-round residents including gray wolves, black bears, river otters and bobcats.

A five-mile wildlife drive will take you on a journey along the edges of forests, marshes and meadows. Whether you hike the trails, launch a boat or cross-country ski your way through the refuge, you’ll feel the wildness of the north woods.

The refuge is also a premiere hunting and fishing destination, with a long heritage that can be traced back long before the refuge was established. Hunters can find small and big game as well as waterfowl hunting opportunities. Anglers can catch northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass and bluegill on the lakes within the refuge.

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge has a rich native American history and the northern half of the refuge lies within the original boundary of the White Earth Reservation. The refuge works closely with tribal natural resource professionals to manage habitats and tribal programs. Wild rice is an important species that connects people and wildlife at the refuge. This resource provides a critical food source for migrating waterfowl and is a culturally significant food source for tribal members.

Learn more about Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and plan your visit today!

Historic photo by USFWS.

Celebrating the Future and Appreciating the Past

This series of articles is inspired by the long history of land managers and biologists who protect, restore and conserve our National Wildlife Refuge System lands. As our midwest refuges reach milestone anniversaries, we will highlight what makes them special. Look for historic photos, lesser known biological and geological tidbits and reflections from the people who know them best - refuge field staff.

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