RICHARD J DORER MEMORIAL HARDWOOD STATE FOREST
This state forest features six recreational areas, seven campgrounds, and one day-use area. There really is something for everyone in this state forest.
The RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is located in southeastern Minnesota. This state forest includes bluffs of the Great River Road of the Mississippi River and a number state water trails. Cannon River, Mississippi River, Root River, Whitewater River, and Zumbro River state water trails are within the forest's boundaries.
The best times to visit RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest is in the early spring when the spring ephemerals are in bloom and in the autumn for the fall colors. The DNR lists RJD Memorial Hardwood Forest as among the best places in the state for bird watching, motorized trail riding, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest, often referred to as Dorer State Forest, is located in southeastern Minnesota, near the city of Winona. The state forest was named in memory of Richard J. Dorer, a prominent conservation advocate and leader who served with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Historically, the area that now comprises the state forest was originally covered in dense forests, consisting primarily of hardwood trees such as oak, maple, and hickory. This region was crucial for the timber industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The timber harvested from this area played a significant role in the economic development of the region.
The state-owned land in the Dorer State Forest was primarily acquired by the DNR in the mid-20th century as part of their efforts to control erosion, enhance wildlife habitat, and restore the area's natural resources. This land was initially owned by a private timber company that had difficulties with reforestation following logging activities.
In the 1970s, Richard J. Dorer served as the Director of the Minnesota Division of Forestry. He was a strong advocate for sustainable management practices and conservation. Dorer played a key role in expanding the state's forest resources and protecting valuable habitats.
In 1983, Richard J. Dorer passed away, and in recognition of his contributions to natural resource management in the state, the state forest was renamed in his honor. Today, the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest covers over 32,000 acres of land, making it one of the largest state forests in Minnesota.
The forest is managed by the DNR to balance recreational use, such as hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking, with sustainable timber harvesting practices. The DNR also works to maintain and enhance wildlife habitat, wetlands, and water quality within the forest boundaries.
The Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest remains a significant natural resource in southeastern Minnesota, providing recreational opportunities and serving as a living tribute to the legacy of Richard J. Dorer.