Public Use Alerts
Oak Savanna Learning Center Trails

To provide for visitor safety, a section of the Oak Savanna Learning Center trail is temporarily closed while amphitheater construction is happening. The closed section is located on the trail just behind the Oak Savanna Learning Center building and goes north for a couple hundred feet until the trail splits. The trail will reopen when construction is complete in mid-July. A fully-accessible 100+ seat amphitheater is being built by the Oak Savanna Learning Center in collaboration with our partners, the Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. This amphitheater will be a place for the community to gather to learn about nature.

Bur Oak Trail on the Wildlife Drive

The observation deck is being removed as the beginning of a larger Wildlife Drive update. This project will extend to efforts to resurface the road, modify other observation decks on the drive and update signage.

Canoe Route

A replacement project of the St. Francis River Bridge on County Road 4 will impact recreation on the designated canoe route from July 7th through September. To provide for visitor safety, the north section of the canoe route will be temporarily closed during the construction period. The closed section is between where the St. Francis River crosses County Road 1 at Battle Brook and goes south until it crosses County Road 4. Visitors may still recreate on the designated canoe route south of parking lot B13 on County Road 4. 

Updated 7/16/2024

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.

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
      Kayakers navigating a swamp full of trees and lily pads.

      Some 30 national wildlife refuges  charge visitors a nominal entrance fee (generally $3-$5 daily)  to cover road and facility maintenance.  If you are a regular visitor or would like to visit other public lands, you could save by buying an America the Beautiful Federal...

      Silhouette of a person walking with a shotgun on the tundra

      Some commercial, recreational and research activities are allowed on national wildlife refuges only with a special use permit issued by the local office, and are subject to specific conditions and fees. This permit requirement is meant to ensure that all activities at the federal site are...

      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.

      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.