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.

Management and Conservation

Refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge uses prescribed fires to mimic natural fires that would have cleared old vegetation from the land helping native plants regenerate and local wildlife to thrive. The refuge also contains wilderness areas where land is largely managed passively. The management tools used are aimed at ensuring a balanced conservation approach where both wildlife and people will benefit.

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge is restoring native plant communities dominated by red, white and jack pine through natural succession and forestry practices including tree planting and natural processes such as fire.

Management of the lakes, rivers and wetlands is through natural fluctuations of water levels where possible. There are a few lakes that are still being managed via water control structures for the benefit of wild rice and other aquatic vegetation that support migrating waterfowl.

The refuge uses a limited prescribed fire program to aid in reforestation and wetland restoration projects. Prescribed fire is currently being used to maintain open sedge meadows for benefit of wetland dependent birds such as yellow rails and American bitterns. 

Controlling invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
through early detection and treatment is an important part of the resource management plan for the refuge.

Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement officers at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge help visitors understand and obey wildlife protections laws. They work closely with tribal, state and local government offices to enforce federal and state hunting regulations that protect migratory birds other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting and fishing opportunities.

Questions regarding law enforcement or violations on the refuge should be directed to Officer Chuck Melvin at 218-844-3423 or the refuge manager at 218-847-2641.

Laws and Regulations

  • The refuge may be accessed from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • The sanctuary area (north of Highway 26) is closed from March 1st to September 1st. September through February access by foot traffic is allowed through this area.  
  • Off-road vehicles (including ATVs and snowmobiles), open fires, camping, overnight parking and horseback riding are not allowed on the refuge.
  • Bicycles are only allowed on county and township roads and the wildlife drive.
  • Dogs and other pets must be under control at all times. Pets on leashes is recommended.
  • For more specifics and a complete list of general refuge rules and regulations, consult the refuge public use brochure or the rules and regulations page.
  • Hunting is an approved use on the refuge, some seasons are in accordance with state regulations; others have delayed openers and additional requirements. Please see the hunting brochure for specific details and regulations.