Reforesting the Mississippi River Headwaters
Situated in the headwaters region of America’s largest river system, the Chippewa National Forest, a water-rich landscape, sprawls across north-central Minnesota. Composed of diverse tree species – including aspen, birch, pine, balsam fir and maple – the Chippewa provides exceptional habitat for more than three hundred important wildlife species. This landscape is a beautiful example of the vast, iconic forests that once covered the northern Great Lakes area.
With the onslaught of 85 mile per hour winds in July of 2012, the Forest experienced a massive blowdown event that leveled approximately 12,000 acres of the Forest. Once a forest that provided habitat for one of the highest densities of nesting bald eagles in the contiguous U.S., the Chippewa and Forest Services struggled with limited funding to restore this important land.
With support from Caudalie USA and Polaris, as well as individuals and small businesses, the NFF worked with Chippewa National Forest staff to fund the planting of 267,000 seedlings on areas that were most severely affected by the blowdown event. Seedlings were planted in the Spring of 2015, allowing the forest to regenerate and once again offer exceptional wildlife habitat.