Bald Eagles

The Chippewa National Forest is home to one of the largest breeding populations of bald eagles in the lower 48 states. The forest has banded and surveyed eagles since 1962. About 150 pairs of eagles produce about 150 eaglets each year.

The best eagle viewing is found by boating down the Mississippi, Big Fork or Boy Rivers or by spending some time on Leech Lake, Cass Lake or Lake Winnie. Mid-summer you are likely to see an eagle just driving across the forest along Highway 2!

If you find an injured bird,  some injured birds can be shipped by special crate to the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul and may be released back to the wild. It is not advisable to approach an injured eagle because of their size and ability to tear with their talons and sharp beaks. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife (218-308-2700) can provide aid and advice.

Tribal members can get applications to use Bald Eagle feathers for ceremonial purposes, from the Leech Lake Division of Resource Management in Cass Lake (335-7400) . It is illegal for all other people to possess or sell eagle feathers.

Special Bald Eagle activities are offered on Bald Eagle Day which is held towards the end of July each year at Norway Beach Visitor Center, 4 miles east of Cass Lake, MN. For more information see Visitor Centers.

Berry Picking

To find blueberries, search in berry habitat including open, sunny areas with jackpine that have been recently burned or cut over. Strawberries are found on roadsides mid-late June followed by raspberries and blackberries and then blueberries in late July and August. Chokecherries and Juneberries are also found in second growth forests during midsummer.  Look for bog cranberries in September-October.


There are 298 miles of non-motorized trails on the Chippewa National Forest  There are two paved trails on the Forest including the 18 mile Migizi trail near Cass Lake and the 27 mile Heartland Trail which runs from Walker to Park Rapids (an additional 22 miles of paved trail from Cass Lake to Walker).  Biking 

Bird Watching

Varied habitats across forest support at least 239 species of birds. A free Chippewa National Forest bird checklist that describes habitat and seasons to find specific birds is available upon request.

For More Information:

Bird Checklist

Boat Access

The Chippewa National Forest manages 85 boat accesses throughout the Forest.

Boat Rental

  • Northern Mississippi Canoe and Rentals, 218-335-2078 or 766-7543, canoes/ outfitter
  • Ruttgers Resort 218-751-1630 boats, canoes,kayaks pontoons
  • Bigfork-Bakkes  218-743-3274 boats, canoes
  • Boy River Maple Trails Resort 218-889-2258 boats, canoes
  • Cass Lake Sail Star Marina 218-335-2316 boats, pontoons
  • Stony Point Resort 218-335-6311 boats, canoes, pontoons
  • Grand Rapids God's Country Outfitters218-326-9866 boats, canoes
  • Grand Rapids Marine218-326-8754 pontoons
  • Birch Cove resort 218-326-8754 pontoons
  • Ray's Sport and Marine218-326-0353 boats, pontoons
  • Sport Zone 218-326-8956 canoes, kayaks
  • Walker Thompson Rental 218-547-1252 boats, canoes, kayaks, pontoons
  • Walker City Dock 218-547-1662 boats, canoes, kayaks

Bough Permits

State law requires a permit, written consent or bill of sale to be carried whenever cutting, removing or transporting boughs whether land is publicly or privately owned. Permits are required for harvesting balsam boughs from public lands in Minnesota. Permits can be obtained from Forestry offices located in Chippewa and Superior National Forests, tribal headquarters on reservation lands, DNR Forestry and county land management offices.

Permits are $50.00 per group (up to five people may be listed on a permit)  with no tonnage limit. The Leech Lake Reservation Division of Resource Management offers permits to tribal members. When picking up your permit, you will be asked to list all individuals  who will be included on the permit, as well as how much you plan to cut. Maps may be available showing preferred cutting areas as required by the local office. You will be given a brightly colored dashboard poster which can be placed in the car window when you are picking boughs.  Your permit must be in full view on the dashboard when harvesting and transporting boughs. 

Harvesting the right way, including obtaining a permit, guarantees long-term sustained yield of boughs for everyone.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Superior National Forest 218.626.4300

Burning Permits

DNR - You can now receive open burning permits by utilizing the DNR's Internet-based burning permit system. Go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/burningpermits.

For detailed information on burning restrictions.