When the Voyageurs approached what is now the port of Duluth/Superior after paddling their large canoes down the length of Lake Superior, their Native American guides directed them to the two rivers at the head of the lake. “Nemadji,” or “left hand,” referred to the first river on the left. The Frenchmen named the river on the right St. Louis. Today the Nemadji river basin, which flows out of Minnesota and into Wisconsin, is nearly as quiet as it was when named. Like so many areas in this region of the state, the Nemadji State Forest lands met with loggers’ hands in the 18th century, but since then little has changed.
Once the big timber was gone, the land held little economic value. Area agriculture consists mostly of hay and pasture land, because soils here are generally too light to support grain crops. This land remains overlooked and little known, even today. Key birds: Turkey Vulture, Ruffed Grouse, Alder Flycatcher, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Sedge Wren, Northern Shrike (winter), Goldenwinged Warbler, Savannah Sparrow. Don’t miss: Harlis Forest Road. This eTrail provides information on birding strategies for this location, birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, and helpful maps.
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