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.

Click on any watershed on the map to learn more.