The 30,700 acre refuge was established in 1965 at the urging of local conservationists and hunters interested in restoring the wildlife values of the St. Francis River Basin. Following that, the refuge became and remains the largest public land holding in Sherburne County. The refuge is now a wild remnant at the meeting of the western prairies and the northern woods, with oak savanna, prairie opening, forest, wetland and riverine habitats.
Image of the Prairie's Edge Wildlife Drive wooden sign. This colorful wooden sign has a scene of two sandhill cranes flying in a blue sky over a green landscape, with a tree on the left, wetland in the middle and wildflowers on the right.
Wildlife Drive Open

The Prairie's Edge Wildlife Drive is open to vehicles for the season! Enjoy the views from your vehicle, bike or on foot.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Speed limit is 20 miles per hour. Give wildlife and other visitors a brake!
  • The looped portion is one-way for vehicles and bikes. Plan ahead to have enough time to complete the entire drive.
  • Feel free to stop anywhere you'd like along the seven mile route. That being said, be courteous and pull over to the side to allow other visitors and staff to get around you.
  • Horses, ATVs, UTVs or other off-highway vehicles are not permitted on the wildlife drive or refuge lands.
  • With our crazy spring weather, road conditions will be a work in progress until the frost is totally out of the road and we get warmer days. Please recreate responsibly and respectfully.

Visit Us

The refuge offers people a chance to unplug and relax. Locals can enjoy regular trips to the refuge and enjoy the change of seasons. Twin Cities residents can make the short drive north for a daytrip in nearby nature. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the wide variety of activities available at the refuge.

Public Use Brochure Hunting Brochure

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Every national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      was created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.

      Sherburne serves as an inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds. The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Act uses money from Duck Stamp sales to purchase refuge lands, and over 95% of the refuge was purchased using these funds. Many lands purchased with Duck Stamp funds were defined as inviolate sanctuaries. These lands, under most circumstances, must be at least partially closed to migratory bird hunting to allow birds a place of refuge and protection where they cannot be harmed.

      What We Do

      The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.

      • Prescribed fire
      • Water level management
      • Forest management
      • Invasive species management
      • People management
      • Research, inventory and monitoring

      Our Species

      Predominately composed of oak savanna, the refuge supports a wide variety of wildlife, ranging from sandhill cranes to badgers to wild lupine. Bald eagles, Canada geese, wild turkeys and trumpeter swans are great success stories; once rare or eliminated from the refuge, they are now spotted on a regular basis. Red-headed woodpeckers, plains hog-nosed snakes and state-threatened Blanding’s turtles have found their niche at the refuge, especially important as the available habitat has declined over the decades.

      Trumpeter Swan

      The trumpeter swan is a majestic bird, with snowy white feathers; jet-black bill, feet, and legs; and 8-foot wingspan. At close range, a thin orange-red line can be seen on the lower part of the bill. The trumpeter is often confused with the smaller, more northerly tundra swan, especially where...

      FWS Focus
      Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
      Eastern Hognose Snake
      American Badger
      badger
      FWS Focus
      North American River Otter
      northern river otter
      river otter
      common otter
      FWS Focus
      Red Fox

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community by doing what you love. National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners and neighbors to make a lasting difference. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.