Winter on the Refuge
Don’t let the winter blues get you down, come out and enjoy the refuge. Winter can bring some of the best wildlife watching. With leaves off the trees you can see deeper into the forest and the snow pack absorbs sound making listening for wildlife crisp and clear. Each fresh snowfall creates new opportunities to explore the tracks left by the wild travelers of the refuge. Explore on cross-country skis, snow shoes, or just take a drive.
Pine Lake Ski Trail: This cross-country ski trail has two loops. The two mile loop will take you through a field, among the oak-maple forest and along the shores of Tamarac Lake. The Pine Lake loop is nearly 6 miles and will guide you around Pine Lake with spectacular views. Both trails are generally even terrain with a few short hills to keep your trek interesting. This ski trail is occasionally groomed by volunteers of the Nordic Ski Patrol.
Refuge Trails: Much of the refuge is open to hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing through the winter. The Sanctuary area in the northern portion of the refuge is open to the public September 1st through the end of February. Since there is no vehicle traffic on these access roads, it’s a great place to investigate by foot, ski or snowshoe. The Old Indian Hiking Trail of Hwy 29 is a 2 mile loop trail that will take you deep into the old growth Oak, Maple and Pine forests.
Snowmobiles & ATV’s are not allowed on the refuge.
Refuge Roads: The refuge is bisected by County Hwy 26, Hwy 29, Hwy 143 and Hwy 35. These highways are maintained by the county highway department and can be traveled throughout the winter. Bruce Blvd/Service Road is maintained by refuge staff and is also accessible by car through the winter months. These roads will take you though a great deal of the refuge for watching wildlife by car. The Blackbird Auto Tour route is closed after the first significant snowfall (usually first part of November) and re-opened at spring melt (usually mid- April). Along with the parking lot for Pine Lake Ski Trail, North Tamarac Lake Access and the Chippewa Picnic Area are minimally maintained. The Chippewa Picnic Area offers a year-round restroom.
Tamarac Visitor Center: The feeders are kept full and bird watching is a warm endeavor from inside the center. The visitor center is located 9 miles north of Hwy 34 at the junction of county highways 26 & 29.
Tamarac: Its Life and Legends - 11 minute film presentation shown upon request daily. No group is too small.
Visitor Center and Tamarac Wildlife Gifts & Bookshop hours:
8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday – Friday, closed Federal Holidays
The center has expanded hours weekends May 15 – October 15, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Interpretive programs are sponsored by the Tamarac Interpretive Association – Friends of Tamarac. Ask how you can become a friend and receive seasonal newsletters and a bookshop discount!
For more information, contact the refuge at 218-847-2641, V/TTY 1-800-657-3775 or http://www.fws.gov/midwest/tamarac .