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National Wildlife Refuge

green heron with shrubs in foreground and water behind
17076 293rd Ave.
Zimmerman, MN   55398
E-mail: sherburne@fws.gov
Phone Number: 763-389-3323
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The refuge's natural wetlands and water impoundments provide habitat for water birds such as this green heron.
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Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is located in the east central region of the state, approximately 50 miles northwest of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area and 30 miles southeast of St. Cloud. The refuge protects 30,700 acres of habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

The primary mission of the refuge is to represent a diverse biological community characteristic of the transition zone between tallgrass prairie and forest. Established in 1965 to protect and restore the habitats associated with the St. Francis River Valley, refuge management today focuses on the restoration of oak savanna, wetland and big woods habitats.

Getting There . . .
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is located in east central Minnesota, approximately 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis and 30 miles southeast of St. Cloud.

From Minneapolis, take Interstate 94 west to Highway 101 at Rogers. Go north on 101 to Highway 169 north, then follow Highway 169 north four miles past Zimmerman to County Road 9. Go west on County Road 9 four miles to the refuge entrance and one additional mile to the refuge office.

From St. Cloud, take Highway 23 north to Highway 95, then east on Highway 95 approximately 15 miles. After the sign for Sherburne Refuge, take the first right, which is Mille Lacs County Road 7. Go south on County 7 four miles to the refuge entrance then three more miles to County 9. Go east 2.5 miles on County 9 to the refuge office.

For directions from Big Lake, Zimmerman, and Princeton, click here.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The flat-to-gently-rolling topography of the refuge lies within the transition zone of two major ecosystems - deciduous hardwood forest and tallgrass prairie.

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Historically a haven for wildlife, the St. Francis River Valley once again provides habitat for migratory and resident species.

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Management Activities
The primary management focus at Sherburne Refuge is to maintain and restore native habitats, including prairie openings, oak savanna, big woods, and wetlands. Water management includes varying the water depths in 23 impoundments fed by the St. Francis River. Annual drawdowns benefit bald eagles, wading and shore birds, and waterfowl.

Controlled burning is used to maintain fire-dependent prairie and oak savanna habitat. On average, 4,000 acres are burned each April-May to perpetuate native species. Exotic tree species, such as Siberian elm and black locust, are mechanically and chemically treated to control their invasive habits. Biological methods are used to help control purple loosestrife and leafy spurge.

Regular censuses are conducted to monitor wildlife populations and vegetation trends. Undergraduate and graduate students use the refuge for various biological studies.

An active private lands program serves an eight-county area, helping landowners restore wetlands and reseed native plants. There are fifty private tracts with wetland easements in these counties.