State Forests

Rum River State Forest


Forest Landscape: Rum River State Forest is fairly level with few hills. One notable exception is a large glacial esker that cuts across the south end of the forest. Over 30 percent of the lands are marsh and swamp. The soils are glacial deposits, 40–60 feet deep, of very fine, sandy loams with many medium-size rocks intermixed. Drainage is poor due to a hardpan layer at 10–40 inches. Several small streams flow out of the area. Northern hardwoods (maple, oak, ash, elm, and basswood) and aspen stands occupy the upland area. Lowlands hardwoods (ash and elm), brush, and marsh grass cover most of the swampy area, with some scattered stands of tamarack and black spruce.

Management Activities: Minnesota's state forests were established to produce timber and other forest crops, provide outdoor recreation, protect watersheds, encourage wildlife, and perpetuate rare and distinctive species of native flora and fauna. The DNR applies multiple-use management principles to allocate the state forest resources to meet the needs of Minnesota citizens. Management actions are planned to maximize the sustained yield of renewable resources to meet these needs by maintaining or improving the forest's productive capacity. Management activities include the commercial harvest of mature trees for lumber, pulp, and other products. This permits young, vigorous trees to grow, providing increased food for wildlife and perpetuating the forest for the future. Firewood sales permit the removal of poor quality, diseased, dead, and damaged trees for heating homes. This provides an energy alternative for many people and improves the quality of the remaining stand.

History: Millions of board feet of virgin white pine, red oak, and white oak were cut from the Rum River State Forest area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The earliest sawlogs were transported down the Ann and Rum rivers to distant sawmills. Later, temporary railroads were built and logs were taken to mills in Onamia and other locations. Settlement began with the construction of the railroads, but much of the land proved unsuitable for farming and was abandoned on the 1930s. Most of today's timber in the Rum River State Forest dates back to the time these farms failed. The Rum River and Mille Lacs state forests were established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1935. In 1963, the Rum River and Mille Lacs forest were combined to form present-day Rum River State Forest. Originally, the forest contained only trust fund lands, which were lands deeded to the state by the federal government to support public schools and the state university system. In the 1950s, tax-forfeited lands were turned over to the state by the counties. These abandoned farmsteads form the bulk of the state ownership within the state forest.

Acres: 40,605

Year Estab: 1935


Rare Species Guide:


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