The Cloquet Forestry Center (CFC) was established in 1909 as a 2,700 acre experimental forest designed to initiate salient forest research, convey findings, and offer a variety of hands-on educational opportunities to students, natural resource professionals, and the public. The CFC has been a designated game refuge since 1924 and is dissected by Otter Creek, a designated trout stream. Recreational use of the forest is currently open on designated trails to on-trail, on-foot traffic. Active forest management and planning has been critical throughout CFC’s history in order to balance its variety of uses and demands.
The bulk of the CFC (3,471 acres) is located near Cloquet, MN with forests growing on sandy outwash plain soils. Local climate is moderated by Lake Superior resulting in relatively cool and wet growing seasons when compared to other portions of Minnesota. The growing season length is rather short, spanning mid-May to mid- September. CFC’s forests are sub-boreal in composition with roughly two-thirds in upland and one-thirds in lowland positions. A majority of the upland forests are dominated by red pine, jack pine, paper birch, and trembling aspen (MN DNR Native Plant Communities: FDn32, FDn33, and FDn43). The lowlands are primarily dominated by black spruce and tamarack lowland forests (APn80, APn81, FPn62, and FPn63) and a small amount of white cedar and black ash wet forests (WFn55 and WFn64). To learn more about CFC history, ecology, and our ecologically-based forest management goals, objectives, and proposed harvesting actions please consult the current forest management plan.
The CFC, the Hubachek Wilderness Research Center (HWRC), the Allred Trust, and the Boone Trust properties make up the entire network of experimental forests that we managed for the purposes of natural resources research and education. The Hubachek Wilderness Research Center (365 acres), adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely, MN, supports a variety of boreal forest communities (primarily FDn43 and FPn62) on shallow soils over ledge rock. The Allred Trust (160 acres) forest, near the northernmost bay of Lake Vermilion, is primarily covered by a young aspen-birch expression of an FDn43 native plant community over Myrtle Lake Till Plain soils. The Boone Trust (200 acres) contains northern hardwoods communities (primarily MHn35) over rich morainal features on the Iron Range near Thunderbird Lake. All of these properties are managed with respect to the University of Minnesota and CFC missions and ecologically-based forest management principles detailed in the CFC forest management plan.
If you are interested in initiating research at the CFC, HWRC, Allred, or Boone forests or have other questions related to our research and ecosystem stewardship, please contact Kyle Gill.