The 27-mile Wildlife Drive through the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located 20 miles northwest of Roseau, will be open to vehicle travel from Saturday, July 16, through Sunday, July 24. The drive traverses wetland, woodland, brushland and farmland habitats, providing visitors ample opportunity to view 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.
The Wildlife Drive will not be open after July 24 for the weekends through mid-August as has been past practice due to construction projects on the WMA this summer.
The viewing route includes the northern reaches of the Juneberry 3 wildfire, which burned an area in excess of 30,000 acres in October 2011. The fire opened up stands of woody vegetation, creating new foraging sites for birds and mammals and improving nesting cover for a wide array of birds.
Approximately 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 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, muskrat, red fox, gray wolf and the occasional moose.
Aside from excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, the WMA “pools” offer spectacular 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 the Roseau River WMA.
The Wildlife Drive can be easily accessed at the main dike road, located 1-3/4 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 speed limit on all WMA roads is 20 mph. Note that 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 before your visit: 218-463-1130, 27952 400th St., Roseau, MN 56751, or visit www.mndnr.gov/wmas.