The North Central Region of Minnesota is considered a premier recreational region of Minnesota. Its natural resources attract people to live, work, and play here and enjoy a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. It includes:
- A majority of Mille Lacs Lake, the second largest lake in Minnesota, and all of Leech Lake, the third largest lake in Minnesota.
- Thousands of miles of rivers and streams, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
- Some of the “best-of-the-best” fish and wildlife habitat in Minnesota.
- Thousands of acres of public, state, and private forests.
- Hundreds of miles of recreational trails.
- A high degree of biodiversity that includes:
- 1/2 of Minnesota’s native muskellunge habitat,
- Over 100 species of fish and wildlife of “greatest conservation need” including 29 on the federal or state endangered or threatened list,
- the largest breeding population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states, and
- healthy loon, deer, bear, grouse, migratory waterfowl and songbird populations.
The Minnesota DNR’s Long Range Plan for Aquatic Management Areas ranks this region of Minnesota as a high priority for conserving sensitive aquatic environments.