If you’re in need of inspiration for your landscape, look no further than Minnesota’s own national forests. The Chippewa National Forest and Superior National Forest feature miles of beautiful trees, which will soon be turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Here’s a quick overview about our national forests, including where they’re located, their most popular trees and a couple of fun facts.
Chippewa National Forest
The Chippewa National Forest, which is smack dab between Bemidji and Grand Rapids, was established in 1908. This nearly 667,000 acre forest was the first national forest on the east side of the Mississippi River.
The Chippewa includes an abundance of beautiful trees including:
- Balsam fir
- Paper birch
- Red and white pine
- Sugar maple
- White and black spruce
Less commonly, you may also see oaks, northern white cedars and other conifers.
If you plan on checking out the Chippewa, be sure to drive along the scenic “Avenue of Pines.” The Minnesota State Scenic Byway 46 stretches for (you guessed it) 46 miles through the forest.
Another notable fact about the Chippewa National Forest, is that it will be providing the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which stands in the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. The Chippewa last provided the 1992 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which was a 60 foot white spruce. This year, staff at the national forest will be searching for the perfect 65 to 70 foot balsam fir or spruce to send to our nation’s capital.
Superior National Forest
The Superior National Forest, which was established in 1909, is among the top ten most visited national forests in America. It is 150 miles long and is located along the U.S.-Canadian border.The forestry of the Superior features a large population of:
Currently, the Superior is the featured national forest for the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees in Memory and Trees in Celebration. Part of the program includes a tree planted in the Superior for donations made to the Foundation.
If you plan to visit these national forests for landscape inspiration, you’ll want to be prepared for the unexpected. Be sure to bring:
- Water, even if you don’t plan on being there for a long period. You never know when you might get lost, and it’s much easier to bring safe drinking water than to find safe drinking water when you’re in the wilderness.
- A snack, in case you are away longer than you had intended. Your body burns a lot of calories while hiking and you need to be able to refuel along the way.
- A map and maybe a compass. If this is your first time visiting a national forest (or even your second or third), the odds are that you don’t have the layout memorized. Bring along a map of the location to reference if you become unsure of your surroundings.
- A first aid kit. Even if it’s just something to clean an open wound and bandages, it’s good to bring along some first aid basics.