|Carlos Avery WMA|
The Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area encompasses more than 23,000 acres, representing the largest public land tract in the seven-county metro area. The land, once owned by the Crex Carpet Company, was managed for the wiregrass used to make rugs. In 1933, the land became tax-forfeited and was...
Lamprey Pass Wildlife Management Area
|Description: Just a stone’s throw from the I-35 freeway, you’ll find a special parcel of land known as Lamprey Pass Wildlife Management Area (WMA). While today urban sprawl is encroaching, this area is the site of the oldest known Native American settlement in Minnesota. It contains Hopewell culture burial mounds that are believed to date back more than 2000 years. |
In relatively more recent times, Uri Lamprey, a wealthy St. Paul attorney and local politician, purchased the land in 1881. The site was operated as a private, members-only duck hunting club until the 1970s.
In 1982 Mr. Lamprey’s heirs and surviving club members who had an interest in the property, worked with the Minnesota Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to sell the area to the DNR. The cost of the property was split between the DNR Nongame Wildlife Fund and the Game and Fish Fund. The acquisition of Lamprey Pass marked the first time money was used from the Nongame Wildlife Tax Check-off revenue. The unit is identified as a DNR Regionally Significant Ecological Area.
Lamprey Pass WMA contains 1332 acres with more than three-quarters of it being water and wetland. A strip of upland deciduous trees, brush and some open acreage, which used to be farmed for hay, separates two shallow lakes within the site, Mud and Howard. Future plans include restoration of 16 acres of the old fields to oak woodland.
The WMA provides the opportunity to manage and protect an important diverse wildlife habitat in the bustling Twin Cities. Lamprey Pass is the largest WMA outside of Carlos Avery in the north metro area.
Wildlife to Watch: The most unique wildlife resource on this area is an active osprey nest located on an artificial nesting platform. It’s on private property on the south shore of Howard Lake, but is visible from Lake Drive.
In addition, the wetlands are prime spots for waterfowl and other water birds. Mallards, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, ring-necked ducks, redheads and canvasbacks are among the waterfowl utilizing the lakes. In late spring and early summer, search the water’s edge for ducklings.
Great blue herons and great egrets are readily spotted coming and going during the nesting season. Look for these waterbirds, along with the smaller green herons, stalking fish in the shallows too. Listen and look for secretive and well-camouflaged American bitterns, and possibly other marsh birds, hiding in the shoreline vegetation. In late summer, large numbers of American white pelicans descend on the shallow lakes. Watch ring-billed gulls and terns flying overhead and bald eagles floating on thermals. The eagles nest nearby, so it is possible to spot juvenile birds in the air as well.
Nongame species using the upland area include red-tailed hawks, kestrels, broad-winged hawks, great horned and barred owls, killdeer, eastern kingbirds, scarlet tanagers and eastern meadowlark. Listen for the soft cooing of the mourning doves.
In the open areas, watch for pheasants strolling and wild turkeys strutting through the grass or possibly perched in the oaks. Look for white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, gray and fox squirrels, as well as red and gray foxes on the uplands. You might even spot the telltale signs of a badger.
Special Tips: Binoculars and a spotting scope will greatly increase your chances of seeing some of the mentioned birds and wildlife.
Land Manager Contact:
Lamprey Pass Wildlife Management Area
North Metro Area Wildlife Office
5463-C Broadway Ave.
Forest Lake MN 55025
Other Activities: Howard and Mud Lakes within Lamprey Pass WMA are two of the largest bodies of water in the metro area to offer non-motorized boating opportunities. There is a posted Restricted Area to prevent disturbance to nesting bald eagles from February 1 through June 15.
Ownership: MN DNR
Size: 1320 acres
Closest Town: Forest Lake
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: