News release: Minnesota DNR invites public comment on Mille Lacs WMA master plan update

September 18, 2023

People interested in the Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area are invited to share their thoughts with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on a draft update of the WMA’s master plan. The updated plan will guide management of the popular hunting and wildlife-watching destination in Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties.

“Public input is important as we update this plan,” said Steve Piepgras, Mille Lacs WMA supervisor. “The previous plan was developed in 1977, and we want this update to reflect current ecological conditions and public attitudes about how the land should be managed into the future.”

The updated master plan will be used to guide management of the Mille Lacs WMA’s unique forests and peatlands. It will include management goals, objectives and strategies for the WMA throughout the next 10 years.

Public input opportunities

Mille Lacs WMA staff will host two events to provide an overview of the plan and its purpose, answer questions and collect public input: an in-person meeting and an online meeting. No registration is required for either event.

The in-person public meeting is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Savanna Learning Center, 16797 289th Ave. NW, Zimmerman.

The online meeting is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24. A link to join the webinar is available on the Mille Lacs WMA webpage of the Minnesota DNR website.

Review and comment on the plan

The public can review the updated master plan and share comments through Friday, Nov. 3, in a variety of ways: by visiting the Mille Lacs WMA webpage of the Minnesota DNR website; emailing [email protected], using the online form on Engage with DNR website; providing verbal and written comments at the Oct. 17 in-person meeting or Oct. 24 online meeting; calling Mille Lacs WMA staff at 320-532-3537; or mailing written comments to Mille Lacs WMA Master Plan, Fish and Wildlife Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, 55155.

About the WMA

The 39,000-acre Mille Lacs WMA was established in 1949. Approximately 100 miles of roads and trails traverse the WMA, with public access points offered at 80 locations around the WMA. Many of these roads and trails are also managed as wildlife openings within the forests. Much of the area’s attraction is due to the wide variety of plant and animal species found here, including yellow lady’s slipper, large-flowered trillium, black bear, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, bald eagles, ospreys, waterfowl, trumpeter swans, songbirds and numerous furbearers.

Public hunting is the most common outdoor recreational use of the Mille Lacs WMA. Other activities permitted on the area include trapping, hiking, bicycling, bird watching and cross-country skiing. Outdoor recreational activities are also provided at Father Hennepin and Mille Lacs Kathio state parks to the north and the Rum River State Forest, immediately adjacent to the WMA to the south. More information and maps of the area can be found on the Mille Lacs WMA webpage and the WMA finder.

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