Attracted to wilderness for adventure or tranquility? Two national resources and five state forests surround the area. There are numerous places to access the water and the Heartland State Trail. Some have swimming beaches, fishing piers, playground equipment, picnic shelters, tennis courts and other amenities to enjoy.
Chippewa National Forest
The first national forest established east of the Mississippi River in 1908, Chippewa National Forest has a rich history, ranging from prehistoric times to the early logging era and Civilian Conservation Corps days. Spanning over 600,000 acres, the forest is one of the largest bald eagle breeding areas in the country. Other wildlife provides viewing and hunting opportunities. Water-oriented recreation such as fishing, canoeing, water skiing and swimming are popular. The forest hosts numerous motorized and nonmotorized trails. (218) 547-1044.
For more information see: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/chippewa/home
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
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 Civilian Conservation Corps 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
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
Located in Park Rapids, Heartland Park offers boat access to Fish Hook River and Lake, a swimming beach on the river, hiking trail, two picnic shelters, playground equipment, a hacky sack court, a softball field and public restrooms. The Heartland Trail edges the park.
Park Rapids City Parks
located between East 3rd Street and East 5th Street. Tennis courts, a skateboard park, swings, picnic tables, water fountain, public restrooms, playground equipment and a shelter area.
located on Eagle Point Drive, north of Park Rapids on Fish Hook River and Fish Hook Lake. A 3-acre park with a beach on the lake, concrete grills, dock, a picnic shelter and primitive restroom facilities.
located between West 5th Street and West 6th Street. Picnic tables, barbecue grills, drinking fountain, playground equipment and athletic field.
Red Bridge Park
located on Beach Road near Downtown Park Rapids and connected to the Heartland Trail. Paved walking trail to Heartland Park, picnic tables.
Olson Ball Fields
located on West 8th Street. Baseball field complex with concession stand.
located on South Grove Avenue. A 3-acre park with picnic shelter and access to the river and the Mill Pond above the dam.
For more information see: http://ci.park-rapids.mn.us/i_want_to/parks_and_recreation/index.php
Lake George Community Park
located 14 miles north of Park Rapids on County 4 and west on Hwy 71/200 approximately 3 blocks. The park has a swimming beach, baseball field, picnic tables, picnic shelter, playground restrooms and public access to Paine Lake.
Nevis City Park and Beach
west on Beach Road from Paul Bunyan Drive, Nevis. Playground equipment, picnic tables, swimming beach on Lake Belle Taine and restrooms.
Muskie Park on Paul Bunyan Drive, Nevis.
Picnic tables, pavilion and playground as well as a Veterans Memorial with a lighted flagpole, flower bed, honorarium benches and walkway.
Akeley City Park
On Hwy 34. Picnic tables, shelter, Paul Bunyan Historical Society Museum, Paul Bunyan’s statue and Paul’s Cradle.
Akeley City Beach & Campground
Public access to 11th Crow Wing Lake, shelter, picnic tables, fishing, boat landing and campground.
Osage Lions Park
On Straight River, south of Straight Lake and on the west side of Straight Lake. Picnic shelters, restrooms and more.
St. Urho Park, Menahga
Home of the statue of St. Urho, the legendary patron saint of Finland and the place where citizens celebrate their Finnish ancestry on St. Urho’s Day.
All Veterans Memorial Park
US Hwy 71 South, Park Rapids, near the Chamber of Commerce & Wayside Rest. A living Memorial honoring your veteran loved one. Guided tours by reservation (218)732-5601. For more information see: http://www.allvetmemorial.com/
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto
14 miles northwest of Park Rapids on US Hwy 71 and west on Hubbard County 41 to Becker County 46 then 3 miles to Two Inlets. A beautiful grotto containing a replica of the famed shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France and inspirational stone elevations of the Stations of the Cross. For some, the grotto provides a place for rest and contemplation. It also is the setting for St. Mary’s Church to celebrate outdoor Mass and weddings. (218)732-4046.
Menahga Memorial Park
US Hwy 71 south of Menahga. A 40-acre park with camping facilities, two sheltered pavilions and other picnic facilities. For more information see: http://www.cityofmenahga.com