The Border Lakes Subsection landscape unit is approximately 2.8 million acres in size. It averages about 30 miles in width as it stretches 180 miles along the Canadian border from just east of International Falls to north of Grand Portage. Orr, Tower, and Ely are located within the subsection. Lakes and rocky ridges characterize this landscape of glacially-eroded bedrock. The subsection is primarily forest land (69%) with a large number of lakes and rivers (17%).
Recreation, tourism, and forestry are the major land uses. Lands are 85% public ownership. The U.S. Forest Service, Superior National Forest, administers 56% of the land in the subsection. Much of the land ownership in the subsection consists of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW- 39%) and Voyageurs National Park (VNP - 5%). State forest lands to be considered for management in the Subsection Forest Resource Management Plan (SFRMP) are 297,650 acres, or 13% of the lands in the subsection. State lands are distributed across the subsection, with larger blocks of ownership on the west in the Kabetogama State Forest and on the east in the Grand Portage State Forest.
According to a recent classification (i.e., GAP) by the DNR using satellite imagery of all forested lands in the subsection, forests are comprised primarily of aspen/birch forest cover types (56%), pine forest (22%), and lowland conifers (10%). State-administered lands being considered in the SFRMP are 50% aspen/birch, 15% pine, and 21% lowland conifers (black spruce, tamarack, and white cedar), and 14% other cover types.
Detailed information on forest resources in the subsection will be provided in the assessment document.