North Shore Area Subsections

This SFRMP will include state forest lands administered by the DNR Divisions of Forestry and Wildlife in three subsections. The North Shore Highlands (1.48 million acres), Toimi Uplands (339,000 acres), and Laurentian Uplands (567,000 acres) subsections landscape unit is approximately 2.4 million acres. It covers an area from west of Duluth near Cromwell northeast along the entire length of the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota and northwest to the Iron Range near Aurora and Babbitt.

Recreation, forestry, and tourism are the major land uses. Public ownership is 64 percent. The federal government owns 740,581 acres, or 31 percent, which is managed by the USDA Forest Service as part of the Superior National Forest. St. Louis, Lake, Cook, and Carlton counties own 463,151 acres, or 19 percent of the lands. State lands are 324,338 acres or 14 percent of the land. Of the state lands, approximately 218,000 acres are timberlands, or 9 percent of the landscape unit, which will be considered for timber and other resource management. The other state lands are state parks and nontimberlands such as bogs and brushlands. Privately owned lands consist of 737,432 acres or 31 percent. Industry owns 3 percent and tribal governments own 2 percent of the lands.

Land ownership

Landownership distribution in North Shore area subsections: 31% federal, 31% private, 19% county, 14% state, 3% industry, 2% tribal.

Cover types

Based on Gap Analysis Program (GAP) classification by the DNR using satellite imagery of all lands in the subsection, 90 percent of the subsection is covered by forest or shrubs (73 percent forest and 17 percent shrubs). Aspen, birch, and balm of Gilead (balsam poplar) cover types comprise 60 percent of the forest lands, followed by 14 percent lowland conifers (black spruce, tamarack, and white cedar), 8 percent pine (red, white, and jack pine), and 6 percent white spruce and balsam fir. Based on the DNR forest inventory of state lands in the subsections, 46 percent of state timberlands are aspen, birch, and balm of Gilead cover types, followed by 24 percent lowland conifers, 11 percent white spruce and balsam fir, and 7 percent pine.




Many plant and animal species inhabit or occur in the subsections. Some 300 species of animals are known or predicted to occur in these subsections, including 53 mammal species, 114 forest bird species, 43 open landscape bird species, 71 open water bird species, seven reptile species and 12 amphibian species. A larger variety of species occurs in the North Shore Highlands Subsection than in the other two subsections. Currently, county biological survey work is being completed in these subsections and the information on native plant communities and rare features is being mapped, documented, and ranked. A total of 122 endangered, threatened, or special concern species has been documented in the subsections: North Shore Highlands, 72 plants and 23 animals; Toimi Uplands, 10 plants and seven animals; and Laurentian Uplands, 23 plants and 11 animals. Habitat needs and protection of the various forest resources will be considered in the planning effort.


SFRMP Products

A final product of the SFRMP plan will be the stand locations and acres planned for treatment over the next seven-year period. The following graph shows the acres of timber sales sold on state lands during the past 12-year period.

Timber sales acres sold by fiscal year in North Shore Area subsections.

From DNR lands in the North Shore Highlands, Toimi Uplands, and Laurentian Uplands subsections, an average of 2,051 acres per year were sold on timber sales during 1990–2001. This indicates that on average slightly less than 1 percent of state timberland acres (218,000 acres) in this landscape unit were being harvested per year during this period.