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Visitor Center
Events
Blackbird Auto Tour Route
Wildlife Observation and Photography
Hiking Trails
Picnic Area
Cross-country Skiing
Birdwatching
Bicycling and Horse-back Riding
Canoeing/Kayaking
Mushroom and Berry Picking
Special Use Areas
Frequently Asked Questions
Public Use Regulations
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Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
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Photo by Nancy Henke
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While the needs of wildlife are our first priority, TaMarchac also provides many opportunities for visitors to enjoy and learn more about our natural world through wildlife-compatible activities. There are no entrance or user fees to enjoy the refuge. Public use hours are from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. Please visit information kiosks, or call the refuge headquarters for complete regulations and refuge site map.
Visitors
Visitor Center

Open since 1981, the center features an exhibit area, observation deck, bookshop and auditorium. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday year-round and 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. summer weekends. The center is closed on federal holidays. Contact visitor center staff for a summer schedule listing programs or special activities which may be offered. Visitor center gates are locked at closing. Back to top

Events

Open house activities are held each fall in recognition of National Wildlife Refuge Week. For bird watching enthusiasts, TaMarchac is also involved with the Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds held annually in May. Back to top

Blackbird Auto Tour Route

This drive is a five mile long, self-guided interpretive trail which travels through forested areas and follows the edge of lakes, Marchshes and bogs. The tour is open May through October, road conditions permitting. Pick up a copy of the guide leaflet at the visitor center or information kiosks. Back to top

Wildlife Observation and Photography

The refuge abounds with wildlife viewing opportunities and over 250 bird and 40 mammal species have been recorded here since 1938. Lakes, rivers and wetlands provide homes for countless species of fish, reptiles and amphibians. Near woodlands and grasslands, you will find butterflies, moths, insects and other creatures. Leaf color during the fall season is spectacular! Hiking trails and the auto tour route allow quick access to scenic areas. Back to top

Hiking Trails

The Old Indian Hiking Trail on County Road 29 winds through maple-basswood and diverse forest for approximately 1.5 miles. All roads and trails in the Visitor Use Area are open for hiking year round and snow-shoeing during winter months. Roads and trails in the Sanctuary Area are open for hiking or snow-shoeing from Septembertember through February only. Back to top

Picnic Area

The Chippewa Picnic site, along the banks of the Otter Tail River, offers tables, fire rings and restrooms. Please pack out your trash. Back to top

Cross-country Skiing

The Pine Lake Ski Trail is open seasonally and offers two ungroomed loops approximately 1.5 and 6 miles. A parking lot and trail head map are located on County Road 29. Roads and trails in the Visitor Use Area are also open seasonally. Roads and trails north of the Visitor Use Area are open through the end of February only. Back to top

Birdwatching

An abundance of birds including eagles, trumpeter swans, waterfowl, and various songbirds can be enjoyed at TaMarchac throughout the year. The Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds is held annually in May. A refuge bird checklist is available at information kiosks, on the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center web site or by request to refuge headquarters. Back to top

Photo by Dominique Braud

Bicycling and Horse-back Riding -

These activities are permitted only on county and township roads, the Refuge Service Road and the Blackbird Auto Tour Route.Back to top

Canoeing/Kayaking

These activities are permitted only on lakes open to summer fishing. Consult refuge "Fishing Map and Regulations" leaflet. Back to top

Mushroom and Berry Picking

The Visitor Use Area is open for these activities.
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Special Use Areas

The Sanctuary Area includes lands and trails north of County Road 26 which are closed to the public from Marchch 1 through August 31 to give resident wildlife a sanctuary during the breeding season. The Visitor Use Area south of County Road 26 is available for public use and is open year-round to all permitted activities.
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Frequently Asked Questions

---I noticed a sign that states, "National Wildlife Boundary - Unauthorized Entry Prohibited", (boundary sign) am I allowed in those areas?

Yes, this is our refuge boundary sign, if you are participating in an authorized activity for that area it is ok for you to enter. Please be sure to consult refuge regulations and maps to ensure your activity is authorized.

---Can I camp overnight on the refuge?

No, there are a number of campgrounds off refuge, the nearest is west of the refuge on County Road 26 at Buffalo Lake. The Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids Chambers of Commerce distribute lodging brochures for the surrounding area which would be helpful.

---Can I hunt and fish on the refuge?

Yes, in designated areas. For additional information refer to hunting and fishing sections.

---As a non-tribal member, do I need a special license to hunt on north half of the refuge?

No, you only need required federal and/or state licenses and stamps. Please consult the refuge's "Hunting Map and Regulations" leaflet and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources "Hunting and Trapping Regulations" booklet for more detailed information.

---Where can I see eagles?

Eagles can be seen anywhere on the refuge, but more likely near water. If you stop at the Visitor Center, refuge staff will be happy to show you places on the map that would be good viewing sites.

---When is the best time to view wildlife?

Early morning and dusk are the best hours for viewing wildlife.


-Photo by Dominique Braud

--What wildlife might I see while visiting your refuge?


White-tailed deer, porcupine, beaver, raccoon, various waterfowl, songbirds and fox. We do have resident moose, black bear, river otter and timber wolves, but they are less commonly seen.

---Is snowmobiling permitted on the refuge?

No, snowmobiling is not allowed on refuge lands or waters. The Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids Chambers of Commerce provide maps of area trails open to the public.
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Public Use Regulations

TaMarchac is a special place established for wildlife. As visitors, we must understand and respect the following regulations to minimize disturbance.
---Visitor use hours are from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

---Collecting or disturbing any plant, animal or historical object is prohibited.

---ATV's, snowmobiles and personal watercraft are prohibited on refuge lands and waters.

---Boating, canoeing and kayaking are permitted only on lakes open to summer fishing.

---Swimming, waterskiing and tubing are prohibited.

---Fires are permitted only in fire rings at the Chippewa Picnic Site.

---Camping and overnight parking are prohibited.

---Possession of firearms or weapons is prohibited with the exception of hunting in designated areas.

---Pets must either be kept on a leash or under control at all times.

---Parking or in any manner blocking gates is prohibited.

---Activities not addressed on this web site are not permitted.
Any other questions regarding regulations should be directed to the Refuge Manager. Back to top

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