|Rice Lake NWR /Kimberly WMA/McGregor Marsh SNA – Important Bird Area (IBA)|
If you’re interested in waterfowl, then this 18,300-acre refuge, located in the bog country of north central Minnesota, is the place for you. Not only do numerous species
nest at the site, but peak migratory waterfowl numbers may top 100,000 birds, including up to 75,000 ring-necked ducks. This...
Savanna Portage State Park
|Description: Savanna Portage State Park has 15,818 acres of rolling hills, lakes and bogs. The Continental Divide marks the great division of water: water to the west flows into the Mississippi River; water to the east runs into Lake Superior. Visitors can hike the Continental Divide Trail and see forested vistas.
Savanna means open grassland and refers to the expanse of marsh grass in the park. Northern hardwoods with birch, aspen and some conifers dominate the forest. Old-growth hardwoods and tamarack peat bogs provide diversity to the northern woods.
Time slips by when you visit this wilderness retreat. Walk the Savanna Portage Trail, a historic and challenging trail traveled by Ojibwe and Dakota Indians, voyageurs and explorers more than 200 years ago. The trail required a six mile portage across marsh, swamp and forest, which took an average of five days to reach the West Savanna River. Today, a well-maintained trail allows visitors to hike the same passageway with relative ease and much less time.
Wildlife to Watch: Savanna Portage has many unique habitats for a wide variety of wildlife. Walk quietly along the trails in early morning or late evening and you may be pleasantly surprised at the diversity of creatures you observe. The bogs contain many small animals, including a few unusual ones such as lemmings. Along the 27 miles of hiking trails it’s possible to see deer, bear, skunk, wolf, moose and coyote. Check for scat, rubbings and tracks year round, but in particular in winter when such signs are more obvious. It is not uncommon to spot a wolf or see paw imprints in the snow on Wolf Lake.
The quietude and varied habitat attracts many songbirds, especially warblers with close to 20 nesting species. Look and listen for Nashville, Connecticut, Canada, yellow, chestnut-sided, black-throated green, blackburnian and mourning warblers, as well as common yellowthroat, American redstart, northern parula and ovenbird. Additional species may be readily seen during spring migration. Rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings and eastern bluebirds are among the colorful inhabitants too. The lakes are also home to loons and other waterfowl. Winter birding might yield a great gray owl, northern goshawk or black-backed woodpecker.
Special Tips: The park rents canoes, kayaks, boats and electric trolling motors to explore the waterways and shorelines for wildlife.
Other Activities: Bike enthusiasts can pedal on roads or on ten miles of dirt trails designated for mountain bikes. With four fishing lakes and a river, it’s common for anglers to catch panfish, trout and bass.
Come winter, this park is a favorite among cross-country skiers, with 14 miles of trails and an additional 6.4 miles available at Remote Solitude. Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere, except on groomed ski trails. Skijoring is allowed on the snowmobile trail.
Ownership: MN DNR
Size: 15,818 acrees
Closest Town: McGregor/Aitkin
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: