State Forests

George Washington State Forest


Forest Landscape: The forest is covered with red pine, white pine, jack pine, white spruce, balsam fir, and hardwoods (mostly paper birch and aspen). The lowlands are characterized by marshes and bogs with tamarack and black spruce making up the patches of trees throughout these areas. Northern white cedar, elm, and ash also occur here. The variety in topography, vegetation, and animal life contributes greatly to the quality of the recreational trails in this state forest.

Management Activities: Established in 1931, George Washington State Forest covers 306,000 acres. Of this, 93,200 acres, or about 30 percent, are administered by DNR Forestry. The remaining ownership is divided between Itasca County (199,700 acres) and private landowners (93,100 acres).

History: George Washington State Forest was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1931 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of our first president. Like much of the forested land in Minnesota, it burned repeatedly during the logging and settlement (1880–1930). The last large fire occurred in 1933. With improved fire protection the forest has slowly recovered. Today it is growing and providing recreation, scenery, wildlife, watershed protection, and raw materials. The Civilian Conservation Corps played an important role in the development of state lands within the forest. Three in existence from 1933 to 1941 were responsible for the construction of campgrounds such as those at Owen Lake and Bear Lake. In addition, many miles of roads were constructed, numerous plantations established, and many soil and water conservation projects accomplished.

Acres: 320,534

Year Estab: 1931


Rare Species Guide:


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