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Where the mighty Mississippi begins, and adventure never ends...

National Areas and Forests

The Park Rapids Lakes Area is a great Minnesota destination for visitors attracted to wilderness areas whether you are seeking adventure or a totally safe experience. The Shingobee Recreation Area, a part of the Chippewa National Forest, lies to the east with a well-marked hiking trail and a taste of this vast natural resource. West of Park Rapids, the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge offers a change of scenery with a range of activities from self-guided auto tours to nature programs. Five state forests surround the area offering recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing and camping. Remember to bring your binoculars and a camera.

National Areas:

Chippewa National Forest, Shingobee Recreation Area, 17 miles east of Park Rapids on Hwy 34. The first national forest established east of the Mississippi River in 1908, the forest has a rich history, ranging from prehistoric times to the early logging era and CCC days. The boundary encompasses about 1.6 million acres, with over 660,000 acres managed by the Chippewa National Forest. Water is abundant with more than 1,300 lakes, 925 miles of streams and 400,000 acres of wetlands. The forest is one of the largest bald eagle breeding areas in the lower 48 states. Other wildlife provides viewing and hunting opportunities. Water-oriented recreation such as fishing, canoeing, camping, water skiing and swimming are popular on the Chippewa. Primitive campsites are available into more remote areas. The forest also has 298 miles of nonmotorized trails and 315 miles of motorized trails. (218)547-1044. For more information see: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/chippewa

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, 35704 Co. Hwy 26, Rochert, 24 miles west of Park Rapids on Hwy 34 and north on County 26. This unique 43,000-acre preserve was established in 1938 as a perpetual breeding ground and sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife. Much of the early development was accomplished by the CCC in the 1930s & 1940s. Today, it offers one of the most diverse and complete collections of wildlife habitats and wild lands in the world. As a premier natural resource on the Pine-To-Prairie Birding Trail, the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best places in Minnesota to view birds and wildlife. The refuge is also home to visitor Science & Nature Centers, programs, bookshop, auto tours, hiking trails, hunting and fishing. All programs and parking are free. (218)847-2641?
For more information see: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/tamarac

State Forests:

Badoura State Forest, located 8 miles south of Akeley at the intersection of state Highways 64 and 87

Huntersville State Forest, located in northern Wadena County about 12 miles SE of Park Rapids

Paul Bunyan State Forest, located about 20 miles NE of Park Rapids, north of Nevis and Akeley

Smoky Hills State Forest, located in eastern Becker County, north and south of state Highway 34 between Osage and Snellman

Two Inlets State Forest, located in the Two Inlets area, 11 miles north of Park Rapids on US Hwy 71 and west on Hubbard County 41 to Becker County 46

White Earth State Forest, located in Becker, Clearwater and Mahnomen Counties

For more information see: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_forests/index.html