Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains Section Forest Resource Management Plan (MDLP SFRMP)

SFRMPs, along with the 10-year stand exam lists are operational plans for achieving the DNR's strategic direction for forest resource management. They guide forest management activities on DNR-administered lands within each forested ecological Section in Minnesota as the 10-year stand exam list is implemented.

The MDLP SFRMP outlines the natural resource issues, planning process, management goals and directions, and implementation strategies for state-administered forest lands in the MDLP Section. Within the Section, the SFRMP also identifies management opportunity areas, such as ruffed grouse management areas and old forest management complexes around old growth stands.

Map of Minnesota showing the location of Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains Section

Plan Status

The DNR is currently developing the Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains Section Forest Resource Management Plan (MDLP SFRMP). This plan will replace two SFRMPs that previously covered the ecological subsections within the MDLP section, including the Chippewa Plains and Pine Moraines and Outwash Plains SFRMPs, and the portion of the North 4 SFRMP that covered the St. Louis Moraines and Tamarack Lowlands Subsections.

The comment period for the plan was completed in October of 2023, and the plan is currently in review within the DNR. Once approved, the final plan documents will be available on this page.

Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains Section information

The Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains covers approximately 8.4 million acres in the north-central part of the state and includes approximately 688,000 acres of state-managed forest land. The Section is characterized by deep (200-600ft [60-180m]) glacial deposits in outwash plains, lake plains, till plains, outwash channels, moraines, and drumlin fields. The forest ecosystems within this ecological Section include mesic forests of sugar maple, basswood, paper birch, aspen, and northern red oak; fire-dependent jack pine and red pine forests and woodlands; mixed forests of conifer and boreal hardwood species; and expansive areas of bog and swamp forests in the eastern part of the Section. Defining or unique features of this part of the state include:

  • The iconic headwaters of the Mississippi River and Itasca State Park.
  • Over 3,500 lakes, including three of Minnesota's Large Lakes greater than 15,000 acres (Cass, Leech, and Winnibigoshish).
  • A mix of landowners and administrations, including the Leech Lake Reservation and Chippewa National Forest in the north-central part of the Section, a portion of the White Earth Reservation on the western edge of the Section, and the southern edge of the Red Lake Reservation on the north-west edge of the Section.
  • Habitats created by diverse, extensive forests and lakes harbor numerous Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including gray wolves, bald eagles, sharp-tailed grouse, yellow rails, red-necked grebes, black-backed woodpeckers, red-shouldered hawks, northern goshawks, least darters, eastern hognose snakes, Blanding's turtles, and four-toed salamanders.
  • Important wintering areas in the Tamarack Lowlands Subsection for boreal birds, including great gray owls, boreal owls, northern hawk owls, pine grosbeaks, red crossbills, and pine siskins.
  • Multiple lands uses, including forestry, tourism, and recreation (hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing). Agriculture is important locally in the western and some areas of the eastern parts of the Section.

The MDLP SFRMP preliminary assessment document (completed in 2021) includes additional background information about the Section.

Direct comments or questions about this plan to: [email protected]

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