State Forests

Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest


Management Activities: The RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is unique in that the state does not own most of the land. In fact, the state only owns 45,000 acres out of the 1 million acres covered by the forest. Strangely, not even all of the land is forested at present. The forest also represents what used to be forested land. RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is also the only forest where the use of mountain bikes, horses, OHVs, and ATVs is restricted to designated trails only.

History: The Minnesota Legislature established the Whitewater Management Area in 1931. Richard J. Dorer, working for what would become the DNR, helped establish the Whitewater's boundaries and lobbied for funds to buy the land. Dorer, however, saw the need to protect and reforest a larger tract of land. In 1958 he was joined by Willis Kruger, Wabasha County game warden; Phillip Nordeen, Goodhue County game warden; George Meyer, Whitewater refuge manager; and Ed Franey, Minneapolis conservation writer. These men worked with the Izaak Walton League to develop a prospectus after Dorer's first plan was rejected as too visionary and costly by the Minnesota Legislature. The prospectus, which was endorsed by the league, was transformed into law, and on March 17, 1960, George A. Selke, then commissioner of conservation, announced the creation of the Minnesota Memorial Hardwood Forest.

The Memorial Hardwood State Forest was created in 1961 as a memorial to the state's pioneers and veterans. In addition to the recreational and aesthetic opportunities of all state forests, the founders of the RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest set out additional goals. Improved wildlife habitat, prevention of erosion, stability of streams, and timber production were set out as specific conservation goals for the forest.

Acres: 1,016,227

Year Estab: 1961


Rare Species Guide:


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