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Contact Information

Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Research Natural Area

Pine Point

[photo:] Pine Point RNA. Photo by Lucy Tyrrell.State: Minnesota

County: Cass

Forest: Chippewa

District: Walker

Established: 1932

Acres: 1239

Description: Pine Point RNA contains upland and lowland ecosystems on land extending into Leech Lake. Carex meadows are the dominant lowland ecosystem. Red pine (Pinus resinosa)/jack pine (Pinus banksiana) forests dominate the uplands. Overstory pine became established after fires in the 1890s, 1830s, and 1690s. The mature pine stands are the distinguishing feature of the RNA.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions:

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA: Ah-Gwah-Ching station in Walker is located 5 miles (8 km) to the south of the RNA.

Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) : Average annual precipitation is 26.3 inches (66.8 cm), with 11.1 inches (28.2 cm) falling in summer. Average annual snowfall is 47.7 inches (121.2 cm).

Maximum and minimum temperatures : Annual average temperatures range from 30.1 ºF to 50.7 ºF. January temperatures range between -3.6 oF and 16.9 ºF. Average July temperatures range between 57.8 ºF and 80.0 ºF

Elevation: The elevation ranges from 1,282 to 1,300 feet (419-425 m).

Geology and Soils: The RNA exhibits gently rolling topography sandy over sandy, well-drained soil with non-acid organic soils in undrained depressions. The site is located within the Itasca Moraine Complex.

Aquatic Features : The site includes a 24 acre lake surrounded by a meadow and 493 acres in marsh and meadow.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Section: Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains (212 N)

Subsection(s): Pine Moraine and Outwash Plains (212Nc)

Plant Communities: Pine Moraine and Outwash Plains (212Nc)
Pinus forest - 578
Populus-Betula forest - 95
Carex-Graminae wet meadow - 503

SAF Cover Types (list acres): Kuchler Types (list acres):
1 Jack pine (28) 86 Great Lakes Pine Forest (673)
15 Red pine (550)  
16 Aspen (95)  


Common Shrub Species: Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), round-leaved dogwood (Cornus rugosa), beaked hazel-nut (Corylus cornuta), American hazle-nut (Corylus americana), bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), choke-cherry (Prunus virginiana).

Common Herbaceous Species: Wood-anemone (Anemone quinquefolia), wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), big-leaved aster (Aster macrophyllus), thick-leaved wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), early meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum).

Common Mammal Species: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), black bear (Ursus americanus), snowshoe rabbit (Lepus americanus), north American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum).

Common Bird Species: Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), song birds, water fowl.

Related Publications:

Aakala, T. S. Fraver, B.J. Palik, and A.W. D’Amato.  2012.  Spatially random mortality in old-growth red pine forests of northern Minnesota.  Can J For Res 42:  899-907.

Boe, Janet. 1998. Minnesota County Biological SurveyCass County biological survey 1992-1995. Biological Report No. 59. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 325pp.

Fraver, S. and B.J. Palik.  2012  Stand and cohort structures of old-growth Pinus resinosa-dominated forests of northern Minnesota, USA.  Journal of Vegetation Science 23:  249-259.

Kurmis, Vilis. 1972. Forest vegetation of Pine Point Natural Area, Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota. University of Minnesota, College of Forestry, report to the North Central Forest Experiment Station. 59 p.

Kurmis, Vilis and D. Ness. 1969. The 1969 Inventory of Red and Jack Pine Covertypes in Pine Point Natural Area, Chippewa National Forest. University of Minnesota, School of Forestry, report to the North Central Forest Experiment Station. 16 p.

Walley, J.M. 1932. Establishment Record of the Pine Point Research Natural Area within the Chippewa National Forest. Unpublished report on file at the Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, 6 pages.

Last Modified: 06/18/2012