Big Bog State Recreation Area has been called Minnesota’s last true wilderness. This two-part recreation area includes a northern unit and a southern unit. The 500-square-mile peat bog, the largest in the lower 48 states, is located in the northern unit. A mile-long boardwalk, completed in 2005, enables visitors to get a first-hand look at the unique plant and animal life of this rare resource.
The bog, which has long been a source of medicinal plants for the Ojibwe Indians, represented a barrier to European settlers who tried in vain to drain it. Today, many of the native plants, including yellow-eyed grass, bog rush and two kinds of sundews, are on Minnesota’s endangered or threatened species list. From orchids to carnivorous plants to rare birds, visitors will see a mixture of fascinating and rare resources.
The southern unit includes a campground with 31 campsites (26 electric sites) winterized camper cabins, a sandy beach, picnic grounds, and great fishing.
Big Bog State Recreation Area was established as the result of a grassroots effort to create a sustainable tourist attraction in Waskish whose economy was devastated during the Upper Red Lake walleye population crash of the 1990s. Despite the tremendous northern pike and crappie fishing that remained on Upper Red Lake, many private resorts in Waskish Township closed due to decreased tourism. Commercial and sport fishing of walleye were suspended during the late part of the decade to allow the walleye population to recover. On May 13, 2006, walleye fishing reopened on Upper Red Lake.
This largely wilderness area is home to moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, gray wolves, fox, bobcat and other mammals. The bog also provides habitat for more than 300 species of birds. The great gray owl and Connecticut warbler are two species of particular interest that make their home in the Bog. A number of reptiles also inhabit the patterned peatlands of the area including the snapping turtle, gray treefrog, western painted turtle, spotted blood salamander and northern leopard frog.
Big Bog State Recreation Area Minnesota
55716 MN-72, Waskish, MN 56685, United States
Daily from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Park permits: $35 annual, $26 second vehicle, $12 handicapped, or $7 daily. Camping fees are separate.
Suggested Equipment for Big Bog State Recreation Area Minnesota:
The following activities within the park should be done with utmost caution. Make sure that you have the proper protective gear and equipment necessary to make your adventures safe and accident-free. We advise you to read the TIPS underneath each activity to serve as a guide on what you may need to bring in order to enjoy your stay fully.