The Lost Forty

The Lost Forty

As part of my research for a new historical novel set in a logging camp in Northern Minnesota, I recently visited the Lost Forty in the Chippewa National Forest. Actually 144 acres, the Lost Forty has the only remaining virgin white pine in the state. It survived the logger’s ax because of a surveying error.

Joseph King and his surveying crew of 1882 mistakenly plotted Coddington Lake about a half mile northwest of its actual location. Their mistake is our great fortune. This tract of forest is located about 28 miles east of Blackduck, Minnesota, near Dora Lake.

The Chippewa National Forest provides good signage and the roads are maintained for both winter and summer access. There is a parking area, a bathroom and a one-mile hiking trail to take you into the big trees. I’d suggest bug repellant in summer and good hiking boots.

The first thing I noticed was the sound of the wind in the trees, similar to the steady hum of distant traffic or the roar of the ocean. The trees are approximately 350 to 400 years old and grow upward of eighty-five or ninety feet. The photographs do not do these stately pines justice but you can see how people are dwarfed by them. For a virtual tour from the Forest Service see. For a virtual tour from the Forest Service VISIT: YOU TUBE VIRTUAL TOUR

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