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Tamarac Refuge: View wildlife or take in program at the National Park

Awaken your soul with a symphony of color and sound as Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge comes to life.

Listen to the songs of birds as they prepare to nest. Walk along the trails and inhale the scent of spring wildflowers. Experience Tamarac and capture those memories during this ephemeral time of year.

Wildlife watching

Here at Tamarac, wildlife is left undisturbed as they perform the mating rituals of spring.  Portions of the refuge are closed to the public during this crucial time, but many viewing opportunities still exist.

The most optimum times for viewing wildlife occur around sunrise and sunset. But sometimes even an afternoon visit can be rewarding to the quiet, watchful observer.

To increase your chances of seeing wildlife, take a journey on the Blackbird Wildlife Drive. This five mile drive follows the edges of lakes, marshes and meadows. If you feel inclined to exercise, hike the two mile long Old Indian Hiking Trail and experience the beauty of the maple basswood forest.

Another option is to venture out on the new North Country Trail which traverses 14 miles through the southern half of the refuge.


Try your luck in one of our five lakes open to fishing.  There are many varieties of fish to be caught including crappie, walleye, sunfish, northern pike and bass.

A fishing map and regulations can be obtained at the information kiosks located at refuge entrances.

Changing our power source naturally

The Visitor Center is closed while we install a new power system that will draw energy from the earth and the sun. Tamarac is tapping into nature for clean efficient, cost effective energy.

Geothermal heating and cooling will cut our energy use in half and is the most environmentally friendly way to heat and cool a building. Unlike other comfort systems, geothermal does not emit carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or other greenhouse gasses which contribute to air quality pollution.

Solar panels will be installed to provide a portion of the electricity dramatically cutting energy costs. Using solar energy is a long- lasting commitment to Minnesota’s future. This energy retrofit project also includes installing energy efficient windows, additional insulation, high efficient lighting, water reducing fixtures and more.

Refuge information can be obtained at several kiosks located at refuge entrance areas.  For additional information, contact the staff at 218-847-2641. Check us out on Facebook as well.

Interpretive programs and activities

  • Wildlife Excursions are offered every Thursday at 10 a.m. June-August. Meet at the Chippewa Picnic Area. Explore the refuge with a knowledgeable guide. Search for wildlife and learn about the natural and cultural history of Tamarac.
  • Friday, May 24, 7-8:30 p.m. – Full Moon Frogging – Kick off your holiday weekend with croaking frogs. Identify frogs by their calls while learning about their natural history and significance in the ecosystem. You may even get up close and personal with these wild critters. Bring a flashlight and boots or shoes you can get wet. Meet at the Pine Lake Parking Area.
  • Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1 – North Country Trail Grand Opening Celebration
  • Friday: 7 p.m. – Free presentation of The Lives of Wolves, Coyotes, and Foxes by Minnesota Naturalist, author and nature photographer, Stan Tekiela.  Frazee High School Gym.
  • Saturday, National Trails Day 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Meet at the Pine Lake Access located just off of Cty Hwy 29 on the refuge. Ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.; guided hikes 8 a.m.-3 p.m.  Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the refuge as well with cake, lemonade and gift items for sale.
  • Sunday, June 9, 2 p.m. – Family Nature Trek   Join a Tamarac Naturalist as we explore part of the North Country Trail. Discover the wonders of the woods from trees to flowers to the critters who call this place home. You never know what’s around the corner. Meet at the NCT access on the Blackbird Wildlife Drive for this mini-hike. 
  • Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Tamarac Project NOAH Adventure.  Learn how to turn your Tamarac wildlife sightings into a documented citizen science observation. This Tamarac specific program is a fun refuge activity that visitors can do alone or as a group while making a valuable contribution.  We will search for plants, wildlife, insects, reptiles etc. and learn how to document the sighting. Be prepared for modest walking and bring your camera. Meet at the Chippewa Picnic Area located on County Hwy 26 just past the Blackbird Wildlife Drive entrance.
  • Sunday, June 16, 2 p.m. – Butterfly Kisses and Wetland Jewels – Join John Weber, butterfly enthusiast and citizen scientist, for an intriguing look into the world of butterflies and dragonflies. Meet at the Chippewa Picnic Area. We will carpool to specific viewing sites in search of these beauties of summer.