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Agassiz Wilderness

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Library image #4142: Labrador tea in bloom


The United States Congress designated the Agassiz Wilderness (map) in 1976 and it now has a total of 4,000 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Minnesota and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.


The Agassiz Wilderness lies within the 61,500-acre Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is an important breeding and resting area for migratory birds with habitat management focusing on waterfowl, marsh, and grassland bird species. Two-thirds of the Refuge consists of wetland habitat. The Refuge lies in the aspen parkland transitional zone between the coniferous forests to the north and east and the prairie pothole region and tallgrass prairie to the west and south. This rich diversity of habitats supports 300 bird species, 50 mammals, 12 amphibians, and 9 reptiles. Bird watching in spring is spectacular when ducks are in full breeding plumage, bald eagles are on their nests, and secretive marsh birds are singing from thick marsh vegetation. Year round wildlife lovers can hope to catch a glimpse of gray wolves, moose, black bear, or bobcat. Hunters arrive in November to pursue white-tailed deer and grouse. Temperatures range from -47° to 108°F. "Flat" best describes Agassiz, where the terrain elevation rarely varies more than a foot per mile. The Wilderness sinks as low as 1,140 feet above sea level, then "soars" to 1,149 feet. Black spruce and tamarack tower over the soft, spongy forest floor where clusters of pitcher plants and lady slippers bloom. There are two natural boggy bodies of water-- Kuriko and Whiskey Lakes. The only authorized public access to Agassiz's Wilderness Area is during the deer and grouse hunting seasons. Camping is not allowed anywhere on Agassiz NWR. If you want to pitch a tent, head for one of the two primitive state-managed campgrounds adjacent to the Refuge.

Planning to Visit the Agassiz Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

Access to the Agassiz Wilderness Area is limited and challenging. The only permitted public access is during the deer and grouse hunting seasons. On the Refuge, deer firearm and archery hunting both begin concurrent with the nine-day MN firearms deer season. Archery deer hunting closes concurrent with the state season. Muzzleloader deer hunting on the Refuge begins and ends concurrent with the MN season. Ruffed and sharp-tailed grouse hunting on the Refuge begins on the nine-day MN firearms deer opener. Hunting for both grouse species ends concurrent with the state seasons. Office Hours are 7:30am to 4:00pm. Day Use Only. No fires. The Refuge is closed to all public use from 7:00pm until 5:30am. Tree stands and ground blinds must be removed daily. The use of screw-in tree steps, or use of nails, wire, screws, or bolts to attach a stand to a tree are prohibited. Use of bicycles, boats, or wheeled game carts is NOT allowed in Agassiz's Wilderness Area.

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