State Forests

Pillsbury State Forest


Forest Landscape: The rolling to hilly topography here is a result of past glacial activity. Numerous small ponds and lakes occupy depressions in the glacial moraine.

Management Activities: Timber harvesting, reforestation, wildlife habitat improvement, and recreational development occur in the forest. Deer-browse protection is underway to help young white pine, a favorite food of the whitetail, become established. The DNR protects the forest and surrounding areas from wildfires.

History: Millions of board feet of virgin pine were cut from the area in the late 1800s to make way for farmland. Much of the land was found unsuitable for agriculture, and many of the farms eventually were abandoned. Minnesota's first forest reserve was established in 1900 when 1,000 acres of cutover pine lands in Cass County, donated to the state by Governor John S. Pillsbury, became Pillsbury State Forest. Over the years, the Minnesota Legislature enlarged the original forest reserve to its present size. Pillsbury State Forest was also the location of the first forest tree nursery in 1903. Some of the descendants of that long-gone enterprise can still be seen along Cass County Highway 15. In 1911 the region's first fire lookout tower was erected in the forest. Built of wood, it was later abandoned when steel towers were constructed elsewhere in the region.

Acres: 25,612

Year Estab: 1900


Rare Species Guide:


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