History

The Cloquet Forestry Center (CFC), which started in 1909 as an experimental and demonstration forest, is part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS).

Quick Facts

  • The Cloquet Forestry Center is the result of the vision and enthusiasm of Professor Samuel B. Green, the founder and first head of the University of Minnesota’s forestry school (now CFANS). He advocated establishing a forestry field station as early as 1896.

  • Research at the center began in 1911, making it the second oldest experimental forest operated by a U.S. university. Early research focused on tree seedlings.

  • Since 1910, the Cloquet Forestry Center has been one of the most intensely managed forests in the Great Lakes area.

  • Collegiate instruction began with the first field class in the fall of 1912.

  • Through the 1920s, most research and management efforts at the center were directed toward reforestation.

  • The center established a seedling nursery in 1915 for both research and seedling production. Two years later, the nursery was producing 1 million seedlings annually for reforestation at the center and around Minnesota.

  • The American Forest Council designated the Cloquet Forestry Center as a Certified Tree Farm in 1989.

  • We conduct timber harvesting on approximately 35 acres each year.

  • We average six new research projects annually. Many are multiyear projects.

  • The Cloquet Forestry Center is home to timber wolves, black bear, moose, deer, lynx, bobcats and many other animal species.

Overview

Photo of old cabin.

In the early 1900s, the Cloquet Forestry Center was established primarily through the efforts of four people: Professor Samuel Green (head of the University of Minnesota forestry school); Fred Vibert (state senator and publisher of the Cloquet newspaper); and Rudolph and Frederick E. Weyerhaeuser, who were connected to several regional sawmills, railroads and logging operations.

The primary intent for establishing a research forest was to determine how to best reforest cut-over lands.

Green felt a forestry field station should be located relatively near an important sawmill center. He received support from the sawmills in Cloquet, led by the Weyerhaeuser family, for creating a school forest. This support brought together, in 1909, the necessary federal and state legislation—and sufficient funding—to permit the federal government to deed 2,215 acres of unallotted lands directly to the University of Minnesota.

The initial block of 2,215 acres was paid for by the St. Louis River Mercantile Co. with the understanding that while the title to the land would go to the University of Minnesota, the timber rights would be retained by the company. St. Louis River Mercantile cut most of the white and red pine on the tract in 1910, under the supervision of the Indian Service.

The Northern Lumber Company owned the timber rights on several smaller tracts of land deeded to the University of Minnesota, and at the request of the university, agreed to leave several areas uncut. The uncut wood amounted to 109,000,000 board feet of white pine, and 1,188,000 board feet of red pine. Northern Lumber was reimbursed by the university for the price that was paid to the Reservation for that timber. An additional 447 acres were purchased from Indian allotments.

The purchase of several more small tracts over the years, and the acquisition of several gifts of land, have increased the center to its current size.

The center has had several name changes since its establishment. In chronological order, it was the Forestry Station, Forest Experiment Station, Experimental Forest, and Forest Research Center, before receiving its current name, Cloquet Forestry Center.