Skip Navigation

About the Refuge

Glacial Ridge Landscape

Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge lies in the footprint of ancient glacial Lake Agassiz, which formed 9,000 to 12,000 years ago. The wave action of this lake created beach ridges that are still an important corridor that traverses over 400 miles across west and northwest Minnesota from Ortonville to Baudette. The beach ridges run from northeast to southwest with a glacial moraine located on the east side of the Refuge. This moraine helped form lakes which in turn created a “fire shield.” The fire shield stopped the frequent fires that occurred throughout the beach ridge landscape and allowed forests to develop where fire was rare. Grasslands developed in the fire- prone beach ridge area. Thus, the Refuge is bordered on its Eastern edge by lakes and hardwood forests. The Refuge’s western edge is adjacent to the Red River Valley, which was historically occupied by tallgrass prairie.

Glacial Ridge is located in the Mississippi Headwaters/Northern Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem. It is a key component of the prairie pothole mix of small wetlands surrounded by upland prairies and woodland savannas. This mix of small wetlands and uplands are crucial as breeding habitat for an array of migratory birds, including waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, and others.

Contact Us:

Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge
17788 349th St. SE
Erskine, MN 56535
Phone: (218) 687-2229
Fax: (218) 687-2225

Download the Glacial Ridge Map


Last Updated: Dec 17, 2012
Return to main navigation