If you’re looking for a weekend road trip, the 27-mile “Wildlife Drive” through the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area in northwest Minnesota will be open to vehicles from Saturday through July 26 and the following weekends through Aug. 16.
Located 20 miles northwest of Roseau, Minn., the drive traverses wetland, woodland, brushland and farmland habitats, providing visitors ample opportunity to see wildlife.
Roseau River WMA is one of the viewing stops along the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, which consists of 45 sites spanning a 223-mile corridor from pine to prairie 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.
In a news release, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said about 149 bird species breed within the Roseau River WMA. Yellow rails, horned grebes and Western grebes are a few of the rare breeding species found within the area’s vast wetlands. Along the drive you 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, muskrat, red fox, gray wolf and the occasional moose.
Aside from excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, the WMA “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.
The Wildlife Drive can be easily accessed at the main dike road, located 1¾ 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 the road. The speed limit on all WMA roads is 20 mph, and the wildlife drive may be closed due to inclement weather or road construction.
For more information, contact or stop by the Roseau River WMA office to pick up a bird list, maps, fishing regulations and additional information: (218) 463-1130, 27952 400th St., Roseau, MN 56751, or visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/wmas.