Laws and Regulations
The two islands that make up Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge were given national designation in separate orders. Woodrow Wilson set aside Spirit Island with Executive Order 2199 on May 14, 1915, as Mille Lacs Reservation. On October 13, 1920, he enlarged the reservation with the addition of Hennepin Island under Executive Order 3340. The two islands were to constitute a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.
The refuge is closed to public access because it is 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. Minimizing human disturbance to the water birds that call the refuge home is a high priority.