What makes Laughing Whitefish Lake Preserve special?
As you walk along the shaded trails of the preserve, you will be following in the footsteps of renowned wildlife photographer George Shiras III who invented the method for nighttime photography on this land. Laughing Whitefish Lake became famous when George’s pictures won prizes at the 1900 World Exposition in Paris and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, and in 1906 National Geographic Magazine devoted an issue to his photos.
Situated between Laughing Whitefish Falls Scenic Area and Hiawatha National Forest, the 1,728-acre preserve lies along Laughing Whitefish Lake and River, six miles south of where the river empties at Lake Superior. The preserve includes three-quarters of the lake as well as over 1,000 acres of surrounding wetlands and upland forest.
Abundant wildlife including Bald eagles and loons, along with black bear, river otter, beaver, leopard frog and a host of warblers, thrushes and woodpeckers frequent the area. The varied habitats here—marsh and swamp, hardwood and beech-maple forests—all work in unison to support these creatures.
What Is TNC Doing?
TNC maintains several trails including the self-guided “George Shiras III Discovery Trail” and a viewing platform over Laughing Whitefish Lake. Additionally, we permit the UP200 sled dog race, an Iditarod qualifying race, to cross a portion of this preserve. The North Country Trail also crosses the eastern end of the property.
Thanks to committed volunteers who regularly monitor the preserve, remove invasive species and contribute to special projects, Laughing Whitefish Lake Preserve remains a thriving natural area. The preserve is in good ecological condition. However, human activities such as unauthorized motorized vehicle use are a threat to the landscape.