About the Refuge

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1965 and is managed to promote the health and well-being of migratory birds and their habitat.

Sherburne lies on the edge of three important plant communities in Minnesota: the coniferous forests to the north, the broad-leaf forests to the southeast and the prairies to the west. The refuge's 30,700 acres are celebrated both for their wildlife and the extraordinary opportunities provided to visitors. The upland habitats are dynamic, ranging from grasslands to oak savanna to oak forest. They are interspersed with a variety of wetland and river habitats such as sedge meadow, deep water marsh and tamarack swamp.

Sherburne is designated as a state 'Important Bird Area' by the National Audubon Society. Today, visitors may still discover the excitement that might have been felt over 100 years ago, as early pioneers stepped out of the "Big Woods" and onto the edge of Minnesota's magnificent tallgrass prairie.

In October, thousands of sandhill cranes converge on the refuge marshes and a visit at dawn or dusk will provide the rare treat of large flocks of birds flying in or out of the refuge. Reference our Sandhill Crane Viewing Brochure for more information!

The majority of the refuge is designated a wildlife sanctuary and closed to all public access from March 1 to August 31 to allow wildlife to breed and raise their young free from human disturbance. During this time, several areas remain open for public use: the seasonal Prairie's Edge Wildlife Drive, designated hiking trails, designated canoe route and fishing access points.

To prepare for your trip out to the refuge, reference our Plan Your Visit and Visitor Activities pages!