Nemadji State Forest

Parks & Geology / Monday, January 28th, 2019

Winter isn’t all bad. Take the beauty of the Nemadji State Forest for example.
Established in 1935 and part of the western Great Lakes forests (WWF Classification), Nemadji is located in northeastern Pine and southeastern Carlton counties along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
The northern third of the forest drains into the Lake Superior Basin-Nemadji River Watershed, where the forest gets its name from, while the southern two-thirds drain in the east into the St. Croix River Basin.
A bit of history: the area’s old-growth forest was logged throughout the nineteenth century, with the Willow, Tamarack, and Nemadji Rivers being used to drive logs down the St. Croix to Stillwater sawmills.
The majority of the forest came under the ownership of the state after tax forfeitures.
After logging operations moved out, numerous large fires burned through the cutover land.
The settlers in the area tried to farm but the area was much more suitable for trees than crops.
The State has since harvested (and replanted) trees in this area to make a variety of products, such as lumber and building materials, pulp (for making paper), pallets, fencing, and telephone poles.
Nowadays, Nemadji is filled with all-season recreation possibilities.
Yes, even winter.
The forest has 3 miles trails designated for hiking and cross-country skiing, 32 miles for horseback riding, with 121 miles designated for both Classes I and II all-terrain vehicle and off-highway motorcycling use.
Part of the trail system connects with the Matthew Lourey and Gandy Dancer Trail and a segment of the Willard Munger State Trail, known as the “boundary segment”.
Find your way to the Gafvert campground, test your patience with ice fishing, brave the cold and walk hunt, or bring a pair of binoculars to birdwatch – I loved being able to see the white-tailed deer, eagles, ruffed grouse, and gray wolves!
If you are interested in visiting, you can find access near the towns of Askov, Bruno, Kerrick, Duquette, Nickerson, and Holyoke, just south of Duluth.

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