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Minnesota State Parks

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Burntside State Forest
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Burntside State Forest, located in northeastern Minnesota, encompasses over 65,000 acres of diverse landscapes, making it a nature lover's paradise. This stunning forest boasts thick forests of towering pine and hardwoods, sparkling lakes, pristine river systems, and rolling hills, providing an ideal habitat for an array of wildlife species. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, birdwatching, and hunting, while also enjoying scenic views and solitude in this serene and enchanting wilderness.
History of the Area
Burntside State Forest is located in northeastern Minnesota and covers an area of approximately 58,000 acres. It is named after Burntside Lake, a large and scenic lake situated in the forest.

The history of Burntside State Forest dates back to the early 1900s when the area was heavily logged due to its vast resources of valuable timber, including white and red pine. Logging operations were carried out extensively, resulting in the removal of a significant portion of the forest. This period of intense logging saw the proliferation of several logging camps and sawmills in the area.

After the logging boom subsided, efforts were made to restore and manage the lands for sustainable use. In the 1920s, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) purchased large tracts of land in the region, including the Burntside Lake area, to protect the remaining forests and wildlife habitat.

In 1971, Burntside State Forest was established as a state forest by the Minnesota DNR. State forests are managed for multiple uses, including timber production, recreation, and wildlife management. The forest is home to an array of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, black bears, timber wolves, and various bird species.

Burntside State Forest is popular among outdoor enthusiasts who visit the area for activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, and nature appreciation. The forest offers numerous recreational opportunities, including a network of trails that provide access to its scenic landscapes, lakes, and natural beauty.

Efforts are continually made by the Minnesota DNR to balance the sustainable management of the forest's resources while preserving its ecological integrity and providing recreational opportunities for visitors.
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1. Basswood Trail: This is a moderate 5-mile trail that offers scenic views of the forest and its diverse wildlife. It's perfect for bird watching, with several species often spotted along this route.

2. Burntside Lake Loop: A challenging but rewarding hike around Burntside Lake, covering approximately 10 miles in total distance. The loop features stunning lake vistas and opportunities to spot local fauna like deer or foxes.

3. Pine Ridge Pathway: An easy-to-navigate pathway ideal for families or beginner hikers; it stretches about three miles through lush pine forests offering an immersive nature experience without strenuous effort required.

4. Cedar Creek Route: This six mile long trail winds alongside Cedar creek providing beautiful water scenes throughout your journey while also passing by some old-growth cedar trees which are truly awe-inspiring sights to behold.

5. Hawk Hill Hiking Track: A steep climb up Hawk Hill rewards you with panoramic views over the state forest from atop. This four mile track can be quite demanding physically so ensure adequate preparation before embarking on this adventure.

6. Bear Den Nature Walk: Short yet informative one-mile walk featuring interpretive signs detailing native plant life as well as animal habitats within the park. Its accessibility makes it suitable even for children.

7. Wolf Run Wilderness Trek: For those seeking solitude, this eight mile trek takes you deep into wilderness areas where chances of encountering other humans are minimal. The terrain here varies greatly including marshy lands, dense woods, and rocky outcrops making navigation slightly tricky at times hence not recommended unless experienced.

8. Spruce Bog Boardwalk: A unique half-a-mile boardwalk path taking visitors across spruce bog ecosystem giving them chance to observe wetland flora & fauna closely without disturbing their natural habitat.

9. Fox Fire Lookout Point: A two-and-half-miles uphill hike leading towards lookout point presenting breathtaking aerial view of entire area especially during fall when foliage turns into vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow.

10. Burntside River Trail: A seven-mile trail following the course of Burntside river offering serene water views along with chance to spot aquatic wildlife. The path can be muddy at times so appropriate footwear is advised.

11. Timberland Trace: This 9 mile long route winds through dense forest areas featuring a variety of tree species including birch, maple, oak etc making it particularly attractive during autumn season when leaves change color.

12. Eagle Eye Peak: A strenuous six mile hike leading up to highest point in park from where one gets unobstructed panoramic view over entire area. Its difficulty level makes this suitable only for experienced hikers.

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1. Start by heading north on Interstate 35W.
2. Take exit 131A to merge onto MN:36 East towards Stillwater.
3. Continue on MN:36 for about 10 miles and then take a slight right onto Manning Avenue North.
4. After approximately 5 miles, turn left onto Highway 96 East/Warner Road N and continue straight for another mile or so until you reach Century Avenue North/Highway J (County Rd J).
5. Turn right onto County Rd J and stay on this road as it becomes Jamaca Ave N after crossing over I:694.
6. Continue driving northbound through various towns including White Bear Lake Township, Hugo,and Lino Lakes before reaching Wyoming where you will make a left at Viking Blvd NE onto US Hwy61
7. Follow US Hwy61 into Hinckley turning eastward at Fire Monument Road which turns into Co.Rd18 taking that all the way up past Finlayson till its intersection with St.Hwy23.Turn Left going northeast toward Askov continuing along Hwys23 &48 passing thru Bruno.
8. After Floodwood,you'll come upon an interchange between hwy73&hwy53.Take either one but if u choose hwy73,u can go directly to Cook without having to drive around Virginia.
9. If u took HWY53,stay on it through Virginia.
10. Continue driving northbound until you reach the town of Cook. In Cook, take a left onto Highway 24.
11. Follow Highway 24 for approximately 17 miles and then turn right onto County Road 88/Armstrong Bay Road.
12. Drive along Armstrong Bay Road for about another mile or so until you see signs indicating the entrance to Burntside State Forest. Turn left into the forest area and follow any additional signage as needed to your desired destination within the state forest.

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Minnesota State Parks