State Forests

St. Croix State Forest


Forest Landscape: The terrain in the forest consists of a series of forested upland islands surrounded by marsh and brush. The Tamarack River flows through the forest, and the St. Croix River flows along a portion of the forest's eastern border.

Management Activities:

From year to year, you may see changes in this forest. The DNR manages the trees, water, and wildlife in state forests for everyone to keep them healthy and meet recreational, environmental and economic goals. Trees are harvested to make a variety of products, such as pulp for making paper, lumber and building materials, pallets, fencing, and telephone poles. Through careful planning, harvesting, and planting, land managers create forest openings or plant trees and vegetation to improve habitat for white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, and waterfowl. The DNR manage state forests to prevent wildfires, and keep our water and air clean.

State forests contain a mix of ownerships within their boundaries. The DNR manages about two-thirds of the land within the St. Croix State Forest. Federal, county, tribal, and private landowners manage the rest.


In the 1800s, logging was the main occupation for the settlers who located in the area. Millions of board feet of pine logs were floated down the St. Croix River to large sawmills in Stillwater.

On July 1, 2011, a severe storm ripped through the St. Croix State Forest and the nearby state park. Winds estimated between 80 and 100 miles per hour uprooted and snapped 97,000 acres of trees in the St. Croix River Valley. DNR land managers harvested downed trees and are working to promote and manage new growth designed to reestablish a healthy, vigorous forest of pine, hardwoods, and aspen.

Conifers were planted to restore existing and establish new pinelands. In the future, habitats will be managed by controlling invasive species, harvesting timber, planting trees, and prescribed burning.

Today, bigtooth and quaking aspen dominate the eastern and southeastern parts of the forest. Interspersed are islands of red oak and northern hardwoods. Some mature pine grows along the Tamarack and St. Croix rivers and their bluffs. High-quality stands of red oak, white oak, maple, basswood, ash, and birch grow in the western and northwestern parts of the forest.

Acres: 42,153

Year Estab: 1943


Rare Species Guide:


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