A close up view of a pollinator planting shows a variety of yellow, pink, and purple flowers.
Seeking Acquisitions!

The Windom Wetland Management District is seeking landowners in southwest Minnesota interested in entering our grassland and wetland easement programs.

We are also seeking landowners interested in selling their property to become either a Waterfowl Production Area or National Wildlife Refuge. If interested in either an easement or selling, please contact our office!

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges and wetland management districts offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings.

Pollinator gardens installed by our Youth Conservation Corp greet visitors when they arrive to the Windom WMD Headquarters. Photo by Carolyn Schultz/USFWS

Driving Directions

Windom Wetland Management District headquarters and Wings on the Prairie Discovery Center are located on County Road 17, one and a half miles east of the Highway 60 and County Road 17 intersection (McDonalds Intersection) in Windom, Minnesota. The office and visitor center are on the east side of Wolf Lake, not to be confused with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Area Office on the west side of Wolf Lake (on County Road 26).

The District covers 13 counties in southwest Minnesota - Pipestone, Rock, Murray, Nobles, Redwood, Cottonwood, Jackson, Brown, Watonwan, Martin, Mower, Faribault, and Freeborn.

Fees

There is no charge to visit.

Restrooms

Restrooms are available inside the district headquarters and visitor contact station. There is also a seasonal pit toilet located along the Wolf Lake Recreational Trail.

Points of Interest

The approximately 80 waterfowl production areas and refuge tracts spread across Windom Wetland Management District are diverse and exciting, ranging from great hunting locations to bird watching sites and nature trails. Our office headquarters and the Wings on the Prairie Discovery Center are located near the center of the district in Windom, Minnesota. At the visitor center, you can explore the nature trail, wildlife observation platforms, interpretive signs and hands-on displays.

What To Do

If you have 15 minutes

  • Visit the Wolf Lake Visitor Center.

If you have one hour

  • Hike the Wolf Lake Recreational Trail.

If you have half a day or more

  • Hike the trails at the Touch the Sky Prairie unit of the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge near Luverne.

Know Before You Go

Ominous clouds moving across the prairie. Photo by Kimberly Emerson/USFWS

As with any outdoor activity, please come prepared for the weather conditions. Some waterfowl production areas have parking areas, mowed trails and interpretive information. The visitor center at Wolf Lake Waterfowl Production Area has more conveniences. However, most waterfowl production areas are unimproved natural landscapes with diverse terrain, including tallgrass prairie and low wetlands, and no facilities. Bring everything you need for the day, including sunscreen, water, insect repellant, proper footwear, etc. Remember to take home any trash.

Keep an eye on the sky!  Weather on the prairie can change quickly. Thunderstorms on the prairie can be severe during summer, so check forecasts and watch the skies.

 

Visitor Tips

For best wildlife observations, focus your visits as close to dawn or dusk as you can when wildlife are generally most active.

Hunting

Hunting opportunities are abundant within the Windom Wetland Management District. The area includes a diversity of habitats, from wetlands to upland grasslands. These areas support waterfowl, pheasant, turkey, deer and other game species. District hunting seasons generally follow state regulations. Portable, self-supporting blinds are allowed, and non-toxic shot is required.

Return often, and bring a friend, to enjoy the outdoor wonders that district lands offer.

 

 

Fishing

Fishing is allowed on waterfowl production areas. However, fishing opportunities are limited as the majority of our wetlands are shallow and are not intended to support large fish. When a waterfowl production area waterfowl production area
Waterfowl production areas are small natural wetlands and grasslands within the National Wildlife Refuge System that provide breeding, resting and nesting habitat for millions of waterfowl, shorebirds, grassland birds and other wildlife. Virtually all waterfowl production areas are in the Prairie…

Learn more about waterfowl production area
abuts a public water body or if there are fish in a stream, river or wetland within the unit, you may be allowed walk-in access to fish. Boat access is only allowed in locations where there is a public boat launch. Fishing is closed on the Touch the Sky  unit of the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge north of Luverne, Minnesota. Call the district office at 507-831-2220 or email, WindomWMD@fws.gov, if you have questions about specific locations.

Wildlife Viewing

One of the observation decks on Wolf Lake WPA. Photo by Kimberly Emerson/USFWS

The combination of freshwater prairie wetlands and associated northern tallgrass prairie provides for an impressive array of bird species. Access is by walk-in only. A few locations, including our headquarters office in Windom, Minnesota, have observation platforms and photo blinds. Portable blinds may be used, but must be removed daily.

Interpretation

Many of the waterfowl production areas in the Windom Wetland Management District have interpretive signs to help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat in that area. Some sites, such as Slaughter Slough Waterfowl Production Area near Lake Shetek in Murray County, are historically significant, as described on the interpretive signs there. Our visitor center in Windom, Minnesota has many interpretive displays indoors as well as along the nature trail.

Bird walk participants observing waterfowl and photographing other wildlife. Photo by Scott Ralston/USFWS

Photography

We have many great photography opportunities on the Windom Wetland Management District for those who enjoy prairie wildlife and landscapes. Waterfowl production areas are managed to provide breeding and nesting areas for ducks and geese, so spring is a great time to photograph them. Ducks and geese also pass through in large numbers on their way south in fall. These areas are also managed for native grassland, so you are also likely to be able to photograph wildflowers and grassland birds. At our district office on Wolf Lake Waterfowl Production Area in Windom, Minnesota, look for one of our local breeding pairs of trumpeter swans. All access is walk-in only and we allow portable, self-supporting blinds.

 

Environmental Education

Waterfowl production areas across the Windom Wetland Management District are open for educational opportunities. Refuge staff can design a program appropriate for you group and conduct a program at our visitor center, a waterfowl production area or a school classroom. Programs include learning about prairie habitat and wildlife, hunter safety, conservation and much more. We also have a shooting simulator available for hunter education programs. Our staff also operate educational booths at fairs and other outdoors shows. To contact the visitor services staff about a program, call the visitor center at 507-831-2220 or by email, WindomWMD@fws.gov. Groups may also conduct self-guided programs at our visitor center or on a waterfowl production area.

 

Activities

There are all sorts of ways you can explore Windom Wetland Management District. While some waterfowl production areas within the district have parking areas, mowed trails and interpretive information, we suggest that you bring everything you need for the day, including sunscreen, water, insect repellant, proper footwear, etc. Remember to take home any trash.

Trails

Wolf Lake Visitor Center Loop

Open season: Open year round
Length: 1.05 miles
Location of trail: One mile east of Windom, Minnesota
Surface Paved (0.8 miles); Mowed (0.25 miles)
Difficulty: Mostly ADA compliant
Information: The visitor center loop trail begins and ends at the front of the visitor center and winds through several types of habitat, including wetlands, native prairie and oak savanna. Not open to biking or horseback riding.

 

Touch the Sky Prairie

Open season: Open year round
Length: 3.18 miles
Location of trail: Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, Rock County five miles north of Luverne, Minnesota
Surface: Mowed
Difficulty: Moderate
Information: Walk through unbroken Sioux-quartzite prairie, waterfall. Not open to biking or horseback riding.

 

Worthington Waterfowl Production Area

Open season: Open year round
Length: 0.4 miles
Location of trail: Worthington, Minnesota
Surface: Gravel/mowed; flat
Difficulty: Easy
Information: Not open to biking or horseback riding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slaughter Slough Waterfowl Production Area

Open season: Open year round
Length: 0.35 miles
Location of trail: North of Curry, Minnesota
Surface: Mowed
Difficulty: Easy
Information: Trail leads to Shetek Lake Settler-Dakota Sioux Battle monument; Adjacent to New Ulm-Sioux Falls Pioneer trail. Not open to biking/horseback riding.

 

 

 

Pipestone Creek

Open season: Open year round
Length: 0.85 miles
Location of trail: Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, Pipestone, Minnesota
Surface: Concrete
Difficulty: Easy
Information: Trail from the Pipestone National Monument, around the perimeter of the refuge to the community college. No motorized vehicles, biking permitted.
 

Other Facilities in the Complex

Windom WMD also manages five tracts of the Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR. 

Rules and Policies

Our lands are open every day for you to discover new places to hunt, fish, take pictures, watch wildlife, pick wild edibles for personal use, trap, hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe and canoe. Hunting, fishing and trapping seasons generally follow state seasons and regulations. Please consult the wetland management district wetland management district
A wetland management district is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office that manages waterfowl production areas in one or more counties. Waterfowl production areas are small natural wetlands and grasslands that provide breeding, resting and nesting habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, grassland…

Learn more about wetland management district
manager at 507-831-2220, if you have questions. We may post additional site-specific regulations.

To ensure your safety and protect wildlife and habitat, please be aware of these regulations.

Locations

Windom Wetland Management District
49663 County Road Number 17 Windom, MN 56101-3026
Hours
Headquarters Office Hours
Monday - Friday, except federal holidays
7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Note:
The office may be closed due to inclement weather if local schools are closed.
Lands and Trails Hours
Daily, including federal holidays
Daylight hours for approved activities