Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1915 and is the smallest refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System at 0.57 acres. The refuge consists of two islands, Hennepin and Spirit, in Mille Lacs Lake that are covered with jumbled rock, boulders and gravel. Both islands are used by colonial nesting species, including ring-billed gulls, herring gulls, double-crested cormorants, American white pelicans and the state-threatened common tern.

Visit Us

The two islands that make up Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge are closed to the public. Hennepin and Spirit islands are a sensitive breeding area for a variety of colony-nesting birds. If you are boating on Mille Lacs Lake, please stay at least 100 yards offshore while fishing or observing wildlife from your watercraft.

Location and Contact Information

      Our Species

      Both Hennepin and Spirit islands are used by colonial nesting species, including ring-billed gulls, herring gulls, double-crested cormorants, American white pelicans and the state-threatened common tern. Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge hosts one of only five common tern breeding colonies in Minnesota. The common tern is currently listed as a state-threatened species, a Minnesota species in greatest conservation need, and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation priority species.

      Ring-billed Gull
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      Herring Gull
      European Herring Gull
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      Double-crested Cormorant
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      Common Tern
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