State Forests

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Wealthwood State Forest

 

Forest Landscape: The southern portion of the forest has a rolling topography that is the result of past glacial activity and contains small wetlands with stands of mixed hardwoods that grow well. Moving to the north, the land levels off. The soil in the forest is fragile, often holding water until midsummer. Prolonged dry periods are needed before the soil can support any management or recreation activities. The forest contains Mallard Lake, and the Ripple River runs through it. Mille Lacs Lake also borders the forest on the south.

Management Activities: Timber harvesting, reforestation, and wildlife habitat improvement occur in the forest. Hardwoods stands are managed for high-quality, large-diameter trees of multiple ages for forest products. Harvesting is restricted to winter due to the easily damaged soils prevalent in the forest. An 11-acre deer exclosure was erected in the WMA to protect young red oak and paper birch seedlings planted in the spring of 2006 from deer browsing. The plastic fence that forms the exclosure will be removed in seven years when the planted trees have grown above the browse line. Management activities are directed toward improving tree health to better protect the forest from damage due to insect pests such as the forest tent caterpillar. The DNR manages wild rice and waterfowl in the WMA cooperatively with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The DNR also protects the forest and surrounding areas from wildfire.

History: Many acres of the land homesteaded in Minnesota's central regions were found unsuitable for agriculture and reverted to state ownership through tax delinquency. Upon examination, however, these lands were found to be valuable for timber production and maintenance of necessary ground cover. The Minnesota Legislature enlarged the original 1963 forest reserve to its present size of 15,042 acres in 2000. The DNR manages 63 percent of the area, with most of the remaining 37 percent in private ownership. Aitkin County administers lass than 1 percent of the lands within the forest boundaries.

Acres: 15,042

Year Estab: 1963

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