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Minnesota State Parks

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Rum River State Forest
Rum River State Forest Hmmm... Whats this © Susanna Van Blaricom
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The Rum River State Forest in Minnesota is a tranquil and picturesque landscape, spanning over 4,000 acres of lush forested land. Nestled along the banks of the scenic Rum River, the state forest offers a diverse range of recreational opportunities for nature enthusiasts. With its beautiful trails, meandering rivers, and abundant wildlife, it provides an idyllic setting for hiking, biking, fishing, and birdwatching. The forest is characterized by an enchanting mix of mature oak, maple, and pine trees, creating a captivating atmosphere for those seeking solitude and natural beauty. Whether it's exploring the vast wilderness, enjoying a peaceful picnic by the river, or immersing in the wildlife wonders, the Rum River State Forest captivates visitors with its serene ambiance and captivating landscapes.
History of the Area
Rum River State Forest is located in central Minnesota and has a rich history. Here is a brief overview of its history:

1. Indigenous Peoples: Before European settlers arrived, the land that now comprises Rum River State Forest was inhabited by various indigenous peoples, including the Dakota (Sioux) and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) tribes. They used the area for hunting, gathering, and sustainable resource management.

2. Early Settlement: European-American settlers began arriving in the late 1800s, attracted by the abundant forests and access to the Rum River for transportation and trade. These settlers primarily engaged in logging, agriculture, and establishing small communities.

3. Logging Era: As the logging industry rapidly grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, vast areas of forests were harvested, including parts of the land that now make up Rum River State Forest. Logging camps were established, and the Rum River served as a crucial transportation route to transport logs downstream to sawmills.

4. Conservation Efforts: As extensive logging decimated the land, concerns grew about the environmental impact and the need for conservation. The Minnesota Forest Service (now the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) was established in 1928 to address these concerns and manage the state's forests more sustainably.

5. Establishment of State Forest: In 1953, the Minnesota State Legislature designated the Rum River State Forest, encompassing approximately 17,000 acres. The primary objective was to preserve and promote forest resources for long-term sustainability, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat.

6. Management and Recreation: Since its establishment, the Rum River State Forest has been actively managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Forest management practices focus on maintaining diversity, controlling invasive species, promoting wildlife habitat, and providing recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and snowmobiling.

Rum River State Forest remains a vital natural resource and recreational area in Minnesota, attracting visitors from both local and distant areas who appreciate its beauty, wildlife, and various outdoor activities.
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1. Rum River State Forest Loop: This is a 4-mile loop trail that offers scenic views of the forest and river. The terrain varies from flat to hilly, with some steep sections.

2. Bluebird Trail: A relatively short but beautiful hike at just over one mile long, this path takes you through dense woods filled with birdlife - hence its name.

3. Pine Ridge Hiking Trail: Approximately three miles in length, it winds along pine ridges offering stunning panoramic vistas of the surrounding area including glimpses of wildlife such as deer or foxes if lucky enough.

4. Oak Savanna Pathway: An easy-to-moderate difficulty level pathway stretching for about two miles amidst oak savannas - an ecosystem unique to North America's Midwest region; perfect for nature lovers seeking tranquility away from city hustle-bustle.

5. Wildflower Way: As suggested by its name, this approximately 2-mile-long trail showcases wildflowers during springtime making it ideal choice for botany enthusiasts or photographers looking forward capturing vibrant flora against lush green backdrop.

6. River View Walk: It's a moderate-level hiking route spanning around five kilometers alongside picturesque banks of Rum River providing ample opportunities spot various aquatic birds species while enjoying soothing sounds flowing water.

7. White Tail Deer Track: Covering roughly four-kilometer distance across diverse terrains like meadows, marshlands & woodlands ;it provides good chances encounter white-tailed deers their natural habitat.

8. Red Fox Run: This moderately difficult six kilometer track traverses through mixed hardwood forests where red fox sightings are common especially early morning hours dusk time.

9. Squirrel Scramble: A fun-filled family-friendly trekking option covering less than half-a-km stretch featuring numerous squirrel nests on trees en-route which kids would love observe closely.

10. Bald Eagle Lookout Point: An uphill climb leading towards high vantage point overlooking entire forest area where one can spot bald eagles soaring high sky or perched atop tall trees . This trail is about 1. 5 miles long and requires moderate fitness levels due to its steep ascent.

11. Wild Turkey Trail: A two-mile-long easy level hiking route passing through dense undergrowth areas, it's a great place for spotting wild turkeys especially during early morning hours.

12. Bear Paw Pathway: Stretching over three kilometers across rugged terrains with occasional muddy patches, this challenging pathway offers thrilling adventure experience seasoned hikers who might even come across bear paw prints if lucky enough!

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Area Campgrounds
Great American Resorts/Mille Lacs Island Resort
6448 State Highway 27 PO Box 129
Wahkon, MN

1. Start by heading north on I:35W N.
2. Continue onto US:10 W towards Anoka/Elk River.
3. Take the exit toward MN:47/Central Ave NE and turn left onto Central Ave/Hwy 65.
4. Follow Hwy 65 for approximately 30 miles until you reach Princeton.

Once you're in Princeton:
5. In downtown Princeton, take a right at the intersection of Northland Blvd (County Road 38) and Rum River Dr S (Hwy18).
6. Continue to follow this road as it turns into Haven Rd NW after crossing over the river bridge.

Arriving at Rum River State Forest:
7. The entrance to the state forest will be about two miles down Haven Rd NW on your left:hand side marked with signs indicating "Rum Rive State Forest.".
8. Turn left into that entrance and proceed along the gravel road leading further into the forest.

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Minnesota State Parks