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

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Big Falls Experimental Forest


The Big Falls Experimental Forest was established in 1961 entirely on state land that was set aside primarily for management of lowland black spruce forest. At the time, research goals included silvicultural, harvesting and utilization, and economic studies.


The climate is continental. Maximum summer temperatures are > 32 °C with high humidity (80 percent) and minimum winter temperatures to -35 °C. Growing season length is 100 to 120 days. Average annual precipitation is 500 to 640 mm. About two-thirds of precipitation occurs as rain and one-third as snow. Snow depths average 1 to 2 m. Although prolonged summer droughts occur, rainfall is usually adequate during the growing season.


No information on soils at the Big Falls EF is available.


Primary overstory species on Big Falls are black spruce and tamarack, with associated understory vegetation of alder, swamp birch, blueberry, calamus, sedges, grasses, bog Labrador tea, raspberry, willow, and moss.

Research, Past and Present

Black spruce regeneration, growth and yield, cutting methods, prescribed burning studies, and general wetland ecology are topics that have been studied at Big Falls.

Major Research Accomplishments and Effects on Management

No information is available.


Studies have been carried out with the Minnesota Division of Forestry.

Research Opportunities

There is no formal research program. Proposals can be directed to the USDA Forest Service’s North Central Research Station at Grand Rapids, Minnesota.


There are no facilities at the Big Falls EF.

Lat. 48°10′ N, long. 94° W

Contact Information

Big Falls Experimental Forest
USDA Forest Service
Northern Research Station
1831 Highway 169 E
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Tel: (218) 326-7116

Summary information presented here was originally published in:

Adams, Mary Beth; Loughry, Linda; Plaugher, Linda, comps. 2004. Experimental Forests and Ranges of the USDA Forest Service. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-321. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 178 p.

Information may have been updated since original publication.

Last Modified: 02/05/2016