Plan Your Visit

Canoeing the Refuge

There is a special feeling about this place, best expressed by the eerie howl of a wolf, mournful wail of a loon or the drumming of a ruffed grouse from deep within the forest.

Visitor Center Now Open:  *Temporary Reduced Hours 


If you are not yet fully vaccinated, wearing a mask is required in this federal building. 

Monday  - Closed

Tuesday through Friday  10:00-4:00pm 

 Saturday & Sunday 10:00-4:00pm

Closed Federal Holidays


Directions, Address & Contact Info

Uniquely located in North Central Minnesota where the pines meet the prairie, Tamarac Refuge can be found just 18 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes, MN or 25 miles west of Park Rapids, MN.

Contact Us:

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
35704 County Hwy 26, Rochert, MN 56578
Phone: 218-847-2641  Email: 

Current happenings can be found on the Tamarac Refuge facebook page.

Tamarac staff are currently teleworking. Please note updated contact information: 

Visitor Information & Education Programs: 

    Kelly Blackledge (218) 850-4886

 Visitor Information & Volunteer Coordinator: 

    Janice Bengtson (218) 849-9872

Refuge Manager: 

    Kent Sundseth (218) 849-9868

Deputy Refuge Manager: 

    Alisha Haken (218) 849-9867

Wildlife Biologist: 

     Wayne Brininger (218) 849-9870 

Private Lands Biologist: 

    Kurt Svendsgaard (218) 849-9865

Maintenance Heavy Equipment Operator

    Tom Franklin   (218) 849-9869

Maintenance Mechanic 

    Larry Krosko  (218) 849-9871

Refuge Law Enforcement Officer

    Chuck Melvin  (218) 844-3423

Points of Interest

Escape to the wilderness at this 43,000-acre wildlife Refuge. A visitor center and wildlife drive offer spectacular vistas of the pristine lakes and marshes that host an abundance of wildlife. Enjoy hiking trails, historic sites, hunting and fishing.

Visitor Center * Visitor Center is  now open with reduced hours - call or check facebook for updates. 

The Visitor Center offers great views, active bird feeders, and current wildlife watching information. 

Hours:  Monday - Wednesday - CLOSED, Thursday - Sunday 12:00 - 4:00 PM

Holidays: Open 4th of July, Closed all other Federal Holidays. Closed at noon the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. 

Blackbird Wildlife Drive

This five mile self-guided drive traverses through forests and lakes edges with spectacular views. There is an observation platform that overlooks Blackbird Lake. This is a narrow one way drive beginning on Highway 26 just a few miles east of the visitor center. The drive is open April 15- December 15 (road conditions permitting).   

Bear Paw Hiking Trail

This 1.5 mile trail begins next to the Discover Center kiosk and will take you through the woods to the cub loop or to the historical cabins. If you want just a short walk the Discovery Trail is just a 1/4 loop around the center. 

Old Indian Hiking Trail

On the Old Indian Hiking Trail you’ll follow in the footsteps of the Ojibwe people and experience the beauty of the maple basswood forest. This 2.4 mile loop trail is accessed from County Hwy 29.  Download the Trails Map to find all the refuge hiking opportunities.  

New Hunting Regulations are in Effect

Download a new Hunting Brochure

Know Before You Go

When planning a trip to the Refuge, it is important to dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes for walking. Bring water, snacks, binoculars, field guides, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and a camera. 

The refuge lands are open 5:00 am to 10:00pm

Pets are welcome, however must be leashed or kept under control at all times. Trapping does occur on portions of the refuge for wildlife management purposes through the winter months and pets, especially dogs, could unintentionally be caught.

Download a Refuge Map