The 27-mile Wildlife Drive within the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area will be open from Saturday, July 17, through Sunday, July 25, and on weekends thereafter through Sunday, Aug. 8. The self-guided tour traverses wetland, woodland, brushland, grassland and farmland habitats, providing visitors ample opportunity for wildlife viewing.
Roseau River WMA, managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and located 20 miles northwest of Roseau, is part of the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, which consists of 45 sites spanning a 223-mile corridor in the northwestern part of the state. These sites offer some of the most spectacular birding in the state, along with scenic beauty and friendly communities.
Approximately 149 bird species breed within the Roseau River WMA. Yellow rails and horned grebes are a few of the rare breeding species found within the area’s vast wetlands. Along the drive visitors may also encounter trumpeter swans, loons, white pelicans, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, eagles, a variety of ducks and other water birds, sedge wrens, yellow warblers, Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows, black bears, deer, beaver, otter, mink, red fox, wolf and the occasional moose.
Aside from excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, the WMA’s “pools” offer year-round northern pike fishing opportunities. Visitors typically fish along the dike roads or near the water control structures. When the dike roads are closed to motorists, visitors can bike to Pool 1 West or Pool 2 from the parking areas. During the waterfowl hunting season only, motorboats of 10 horsepower or less may be used on Roseau River WMA pools.
The Wildlife Drive can be easily accessed from the main dike road, which is about 2 miles south of the WMA headquarters on Roseau County Road 3. Only motor vehicles licensed for use on public highways are legally permitted to operate on this road. Motorists are urged to use caution due to narrow roads, soft shoulders, deep ditches and two-way traffic. The Wildlife Drive may temporarily close as a result of inclement weather or road construction, so please call before venturing out. During this time of high-fire danger, be sure to keep vehicles on the roadway. Hot exhaust systems parked over grass or vegetation can spark a wildfire.
For current road conditions, a bird list, maps, fishing regulations and additional information, call 218-452-7610, email, or stop by the Roseau River WMA office at 27952 400th St., Roseau, MN 56751. Maps are available in a brochure case on the outside of the wildlife office. Online maps and more information about the Roseau River WMA are available on the DNR website.