Hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers in Itasca County benefit from the work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Grand Rapids area wildlife staff.
Acting area Supervisor Mark Spoden and two full-time staff oversee an area that includes 2 million acres of public and private land. These lands include 15 state Wildlife Management Areas totaling 27,000 acres, seven state game refuges and five designated waterfowl and feeding resting areas.
The Grand Rapids staff also works extensively with forest managers. This includes wildlife-related collaborations on 469,000 acres of state forest, 514,000 acres of Chippewa National Forest and 361,845 acres of Itasca and Cass County tax-forfeited land.
- What we do
At work for you
Harvesting after a timber sale.
- In collaboration with conservation partners, providing technical guidance and management on 28 wild rice lakes totaling 6,500 acres.
- Implementing between five and 10 forest wildlife habitat improvement projects involving 200-400 acres on public forest land annually for species such as woodcock, bear, ruffed grouse deer and non-game species.
- Grand Rapids Area Wildlife is one of the leads in an interagency prescribed burn partnership involving the Chippewa National Forest, DNR Forestry, DNR Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, The Nature Conservancy and Cass County Land Department to pool resources to accomplish prescribed burns across land ownerships, Most years, several wet meadow burns are accomplished totaling 2494 acres and several forest burns totaling 92 acres are completed.
- Providing annual hunting season management for three deer permit areas and one bear permit area and maintain 34 big game registration stations and operate three furbearer registration stations.
- Managing and maintaining 18 hunter walking trails totaling 85 miles, all of which were mowed in 2017.
- Annually maintain or improve 70 user facilities (parking lots, gates, trails, etc.); maintaining 10.5 miles of access road; maintaining 5 miles of boundary on WMAs and 6 miles of refuge boundary