About the Refuge and the Wetland Management District

Deep Forest by Scott Sharkey

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1976 to provide habitat for a large number of migratory waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife species threatened by commercial and industrial development, and to provide environmental education, wildlife recreational opportunities, and interpretive programming for Twin Cities residents.

The refuge is part of a corridor of land and water stretching nearly 70 miles along the Minnesota River, from Bloomington to Henderson, Minnesota.  Comprised of more than 14,000 acres, the refuge has multiple units, offering a variety of free outdoor recreational experiences for individuals and families. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge also manages a 14 county Wetland Management District.

The refuge ranges from urban to rural providing a unique opportunity to enjoy wildlife related recreation in the shadows of skyscrapers and grain elevators.  The refuge provides valuable habitat for a diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds, fish, and resident wildlife.  It's a place where coyotes, bald eagles, prothonotary warblers, and trout live next door to more than three million people.

Each unit offers a variety of attractions and seasonal activities.  Individual units may have special regulations, as well as private land within their boundaries.  For details about the individual units please refer to trail maps which are available at trail heads and education and visitor centers.

Contact the refuge

Refuge Headquarters and Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd. East
Bloomington, MN 55425
Phone: 952-854-5900
TTY: 1-800-877-8339

Rapids Lake Education Center
15865 Rapids Lake Road
Carver, MN 55315
Phone: 952-361-4500
TTY: 1-800-877-8339

Before visiting either of our visitor centers, please call to make sure we are open.  Staff may be working off-site conducting educational programs or out in the field.

For hours and directions click here to go to the Plan Your Visit page.