State Forests

Land O'Lakes State Forest


Management Activities: Land O'Lakes State Forest has a statutory area of 49,890 acres, or 78 square miles. DNR Forestry administers 29,770 acres and Cass County administers 11,520 acres, with the remaining 8,600 acres in private ownership. After the virgin pine was harvested, two-thirds of the forest regenerated naturally to aspen-birch. Pine was predominant on 10 percent of the land. Northern and lowlands hardwoods and some lowland conifers make up the balance. Timber in Land O'Lakes State Forest is managed under a sustained yield system. Many areas regenerate naturally; others are replanted to ensure future timber crops.

History: Several large companies removed most of the pine timber from the Land O'Lakes area between 1800 and 1890. The Pine Tree Lumber Company, a Weyerhauser organization, completed the logging of its holdings about 1907 and removed the last of the virgin stumpage. Logging was done in the winter with logs hauled to landings by sleigh for subsequent transportation by water to sawmills. Two drainage areas were used for driving logs: Lake George through Daggett Brook into Washburn Lake, thence Mule Lake and again down Daggett Brook into Mitchell Lake; and from the headwaters of Roosevelt Lake (in the logging days known as Crooked Lake) into Leavit Lake, Lawrence Lake, and Roosevelt Lake and thence down into Mitchell Lake, where the logs joined those from the Lake George area and were finally driven into the Mississippi. A railroad grade was constructed about 1890 by the Simpson Logging Company from Cross Lake north to tap the virgin pine stands toward Longville. Several short spur lines were built from this main line to Dog Lakes, Camp Lake, Hoister Lake, Blind Lake, and others. The rails were taken up in 1911. Fires followed the early loggers, and parts of the area burned over yearly with resulting great losses to reproduction and retardation of forest cover. Fortunately, no major fires have occurred since the 1930s. Land O'Lakes State Forest was established in 1933 by the Minnesota Legislature to expedite the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Additional land was added to the forest in 1963, when 19,000 acres of tax-forfeited land was turned over to the state by Cass County. An additional 2,295 acres of tax-forfeited land in the forest was acquired in 1965.

Acres: 51,499

Year Estab: 1933


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