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Featured National Recreation Trails

Hosted by AmericanTrails.org

Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.

 

Froland National Recreation Trail, Froland Waterfowl Production Area, MN

Froland Waterfowl Production Area Interpretive Trail winds around several wetlands through scenic restored prairie and oak savanna in west-central Minnesota. An accessible trail leads to an observation platform overlooking a large wetland.

 

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photo of trail along lake

Walking on the trail at Froland Waterfowl Production Area

Froland WPA is one of 245 WPAs in the Morris Wetland Management District. Waterfowl Production Areas are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are purchased by the Federal government to provide breeding habitat for migratory birds, especially waterfowl. Every dollar spent for the purchase of a federal migratory bird (duck) stamp goes directly toward the acquisition of waterfowl habitat.

Froland Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) was named for the previous landowner who sold the land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Froland WPA is located in Pope County, Minnesota, 3 miles south of the town of Starbuck, bordered on the east by Minnesota Highway 29 and on the north by County Road 18. Froland WPA is 151 acres.
The Froland WPA Interpretive Trail winds around several wetlands and through scenic restored prairie, wetlands, and oak savanna.

The 1.7 mile trail was designed to expose users to a variety of native habitat types historically found in west-central Minnesota. The prairie consists of both remnant native prairie and prairie restored from cropland. This recently enhanced trail harbors a new parking lot and interpretive panels at the trail head, a new observation platform and handicapped accessible spotting scope overlooking a large wetland, and two new benches for rest and relaxation along the way.

photo of pond and railing

The view from one of tthe observation decks

 

The wood duck houses lining the wetlands were installed by a local Boy Scout troop. The trail is handicap accessible from the parking area to the observation platform, while the remainder is mowed single track. This trail provides access to a large portion of Froland WPA and features excellent opportunities for bird watching, nature observation and photography, hunting, and a place to just stretch out your legs and get some exercise.

On the east side of Highway 29, across from the entrance to the east parking lot, is a 5-mile long hiking and biking trail that leads from the town of Starbuck to Glacial Lakes State Park. This bike trail is also the site of the annual Minnewaska 10 K race.

The town of Starbuck is located on the west shore of Lake Minnewaska, which provides lodging and recreation of all types including boating, skiing, fishing and other water sports. Glacial Lakes State Park offers plenty of camping sites along with additional hiking and cross country ski trails and other recreational opportunities. The trail can be used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter though it is not groomed.

The original 1-mile long hiking trail was constructed in 1971 in cooperation with the Glacial Ridge Development Association and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Froland WPA is a popular area for consumptive and non-consumptive public use. In 2010, the trail was enhanced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase accessibility and viewing opportunities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Morris Wetland Management District (WMD) is responsible for management of the WPA and trail.

photo of wood deck

observation deck along the Interpretive Trail

 

 

Several dedicated local volunteers assist with maintenance, trash removal, and keeping the trail mowed. Volunteers and Youth Conservation Corps members also assist with the removal of common buckthorn, an invasive, exotic tree. Future plans for the trail include the installation of interpretive signs and the development of an interpretive brochure.

Some common wildlife observed at Froland WPA include mallard, blue-winged teal, northern shoveler, redhead, Canada goose, wood duck, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, ring-necked pheasant, mourning dove, yellow-headed blackbird, red-winged blackbird, tree swallow, barn swallow, western meadowlark, bobolink, American white pelican, pied-billed grebe, white-tailed deer, gopher, ground squirrels, and muskrat.

Morris WMD actively manages habitat at Froland WPA using prescribed burning and haying to simulate natural cycles of disturbance, and control of exotic vegetation. The native prairie at Froland WPA is also used as a site for prairie seed harvest, which is then used to restore other prairies.

 

Directions to Trail:

The District office is located near the town of Morris, 20 miles west of Froland WPA on Stevens County Road 10 (Pope CR 18, on the north side of Froland WPA, becomes Stevens CR 10).

 

For more information:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Morris Wetland Management District
43875 230th Street
Morris, MN 56267
Phone: 320-589-4971
Website: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Morris/

 

trail noteWe frequently add NRT information, photos and maps to these pages. Send suggestions and information requests to American Trails. Research additional NRTs in the NRT database. Trail managers can update online trail information in the NRT database. You may also e-mail information on minor changes or to update Featured NRT pages.

 

 

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