Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

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Area and County

    Morrison County
    Northwest Minnesota

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13,540 acres approved, 2,000 acres acquired


Brochure and Platt River Trail map


N45 55.603, W94 15.289

Hiking Trails

Platt River Trail: 3 miles


No hunting

Ecological Classification Province  

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

Ecological Classification

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal


Anoka Sand Plain

Land Type Association(s)

Agram Sand Plain

Native Plant Communities1

Basswood - Black Ash Forest

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern)

Northern Mixed Cattail Marsh

Oak - Aspen Woodland

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland

Sedge Meadow

Willow - Dogwood Shrub Swamp



U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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Crane Meadows Habitat Day 2011
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region


Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Crane Meadows welcomed visitors to the 11th Annual Habitat Day event held on Sat. March 12, 2011.

This has been a great partnership over the years, evolving to more than 37 co-sponsors from federal and state agencies, local organizations, clubs and groups, schools, businesses, etc...

Since the Refuge's first event in 2001, more than 4,000 artificial nesting boxes have been assembled and hopefully placed in nature as a result of this program.

This late-winter tradition has become a perennial favorite, with more than 500 people participating. Outdoor enthusiasts from around the area came out to build wood duck and bluebirds boxes.

Hand-outs were provided on proper placement and maintenance of the bird houses and there were plenty of resource-oriented people on-hand to answer questions.

Refuge Friends, Ducks Unlimited, USFWS and MN DNR had informational booths and other activities included: snowshoeing, furbearer booth, waterfowl identification, deer antler searching and discovery. Snow conditions were still suitable for cross country skiers to take advantage of the double wide groomed Platte River Trail. Two large tents were setup to help shelter participants from the windy weather conditions.




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One of the largest breeding populations of Sandhill Cranes in Minnesota is at this refuge.


Two bird species with conservation status in Minnesota and one tracked species have been seen here:


Special concern

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)



Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)


Six plant species with conservation status in Minnesota and one species on the watch list are found here:



western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara)



Clinton’s bulrush (Trichophorum clintonii)

pale green orchid (Platanthera flava var. herbiola)


Special concern

blunt sedge (Carex obtusata)

Hill’s thistle (Cirsium pumilum var. hillii)

St. Lawrence grapefern (Botrychium rugulosum)


Watch list

northern adder’s tongue (Ophioglossum pusillum)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Plant List


Plants frequently found in:

Basswood - Black Ash Forest MHc47a

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern) UPs14ab

Northern Mixed Cattail Marsh MRn83

Oak - Aspen Woodland FDc25b

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland FDs37b

Sedge Meadow WMn82b

Willow - Dogwood Shrub Swamp WMn82a


Three reptile species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:



Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)


Special concern

gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer)

western hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus)




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