State Forests

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Fond du Lac State Forest

 

Forest Landscape: The terrain in the forest is flat to rolling. Low areas consist of lowland conifers, alder-willow brushlands, and peat bogs. Kettle Lake and numerous smaller lakes are contained within the forest.

Management Activities: Timber harvesting, reforestation, wildlife habitat improvement, and recreational development occur in the forest. Wildlife management includes creating wildlife openings in the forest to produce forage and browse for deer, improving wild rice stands, and developing large blocks of brushland habitat for open-land wildlife species. An extensive network of hunter-walking trails is also maintained in the forest. The DNR and Fond du Lac Resource Management protect the forest and surrounding areas from wildfires.

History: A large portion of the land that is now Fond du Lac State Forest was swept by the great Cloquet Fire of 1918 and was periodically burned after that to create or maintain clearings until the 1930s. A ditch system was dug in the area from 1916 to 1920 to drain the lowlands and facilitate settling. Nearly one-third of what is now the forest was cleared and settled by the early 1920s. By the mid-1920s, however, land values were declining and the ditching assessments were twice the market value of the land. Within three years the majority of settlers had abandoned their holdings and most of the land reverted to the county for nonpayment of taxes. Minnesota laws of 1931 established several state forests by legal descriptions only. Fond du Lac State Forest was one of these and did not get its name officially into the books until 1933. Over the years, the Minnesota Legislature enlarged the original forest reserve to its present size. The DNR manages 70 percent of the area, with the rest under county, corporate, and private ownership.

Acres: 64,505

Year Estab: 1933

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