Moose
Moose Moose © Mark Godfrey/The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Sand Lake / Seven Beavers Preserve

Minnesota

The Sand Lake/Seven Beavers area harbors one of the largest areas of lowland conifers.

Why TNC Selected This Site

The Sand Lake/Seven Beavers area is a vast virtually unfragmented ecosystem challenged by a mixed ownership. This mixture of ownership offers The Conservancy an excellent opportunity to work with partners to coordinate forest management and conservation, protecting a substantial portion of the region's remaining lowland conifer forest.

The Conservancy's property is essentially the only private property in the core of the area. The Sand Lake/Seven Beavers site also contains other protected and managed lands, including a state Scientific & Natural Area, U.S. Forest Service National Forest lands, state forest lands, and forests managed by St. Louis County and Lake County Land Departments. The Conservancy is actively working with these landowners in order to develop a collaborative approach to forest management and conservation in the Sand Lake/Seven Beavers area. The Collaborative Team recently completed an ecosystem analysis to prioritize restoration needs. The Conservancy is contracting with Blandin Paper Company for forest management planning and ecological classification services. The Conservancy will retain Sand Lake/Seven Beavers as private property and continue its tradition of local recreational use.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

The Sand Lake/Seven Beavers area harbors one of the state's largest areas of lowland conifers and associated habitat. Rare plants such as Michaux's sedge, and sensitive aquatic communities such as the Sand Lake peatlands are among the highlights of this landscape. A unique feature of these acres is their position at the headwaters of the St. Louis River. According to ecologists, the undisturbed quality of the wetland habitats here elevates their importance to native species and ecosystems in the Arrowhead and Great Lakes. In addition, the lowland conifer ecosystem, with large unfragmented wetlands and numerous rare plant species, is unusual within the Superior Mixed Forest ecoregion and Great Lakes. Find out about The Conservancy's  comments on the draft environmetal impact statement on proposed mining in the area.

What to See: Plants

Where soils are nutrient poor, plants must find other ways to collect elements essential for life. At Sand Lake/Seven Beavers Preserve plants that acquire scarce nutrients through predation are on display. Pitcher plants are the easiest insectivorous plant to spot. Look for their liquid holding leaves shaped like a pitcher of water. The liquid inside is mixture of enzymes that attracts and digests insects trapped within the vessel. 

What to See: Animals

Mammal highlights from the Northern coniferous forest include moose, wolves, bear, pine marten, fisher, lynx and bobcat. There are many species of warblers, sparrows, waterfowl, and raptors that nest or migrate through the area. Some year round avian residents include the spruce grouse, Northern goshawk, raven, boreal chickadee, gray jay, red crossbill, and white winged crossbill. 

Sand Lake/Seven Beavers is owned more for habitat protection and management purposes than for public visitation. If you do decide to visit winter is the best time to explore by hiking, cross-country skiing, or snow-shoeing. Keep in mind that this is a vast landscape. Between mining railroads to the North, South, and West, and County Road 2 to the east there are 70 square miles without driveable roads. So, dress appropriately and always carry a compass. This preserve is open to public hunting.