Looking at the beautiful timbered hills and pastoral valleys of Minnesota’s southeastern counties, it’s hard to imagine the area as a wasteland, but that is the picture that began to emerge only half a century after settlement.
One look today at the beauty of this valley and surrounding lands confirms that Dorer’s efforts to restore the region to its former splendor were not in vain. The Memorial Hardwood State Forest, which spreads across this region, was established in 1961, taking under its care about 2 million acres—the largest of the state forests. In 1976 it was appropriately renamed the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest. Key birds: Golden Eagle (winter), Red-shouldered Hawk (nesting), Wild Turkey, American Woodcock, Black-and Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Eastern Screech-Owl, Sedge Wren, Louisiana Waterthrush, Lark Sparrow. Don’t miss: Highway 74 from Weaver southwest to Elba. 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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