State Forests

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Grand Portage State Forest

 

Forest Landscape: The area is very hilly with many cliffs and rock outcrops that provide some of the roughest and most scenic terrain in Minnesota. Elevation varies from 602 feet above sea level at the shore of Lake Superior (the lowest elevation in the state) to about 2,200 feet on the highest hills.

Management Activities: Minnesota's state forests produce timber and other forest crops, provide outdoor recreation, protect watersheds, and perpetuate rare and distinctive species of native flora and fauna. Thus, state forests are multiple-use areas that are managed to provide a sustained yield of renewable resources while maintaining or improving the forest environment. Logging is the primary management activity in the forest. In 1980, approximately 2,400,000 board feet of timber was harvested. All lands that have timber harvested from them are reforested naturally or artificially. When timber is selected for harvest, wildlife, water quality, reforestation, recreation, and unique plants and animals are considered so they are not adversely affected.

History: Grand Portage State Forest was established in 1933 and contains 100,172 acres. Of this, 34,245 acres are state owned with the remainder in federal and private ownership. The forest has an extensive logging history and many abandoned logging camps can still be found. Millions of board feet of lumber (pine and cedar) and pulpwood (black and white spruce) were cut in the forest in the early 1900s by the Pigeon River Company, the Hughes Brothers, and the George W. Mead Company. Much of the pulpwood was formed into rafts on Lake Superior and towed to Wisconsin paper mills. The steel pins and rings that anchored the log booms can still be seen protruding from the rocky shorelines of the lake. Fires have also influenced the nature of the forest. In 1910, a major fire burned much of the southeastern corner of the forest. In 1936, another fire burned 10,000 acres in the central part of the forest. Some timber was salvaged from these fires, but charred stumps and logs can still be found. Although these fires destroyed an enormous amount of timber, no lives were lost.

Acres: 100,172

Year Estab: 1933

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