BAUDETTE (WJON News) -- The photo of the state's Minnesota-shaped forest is gaining popularity once again.

The Minnesota Forestry Service says the pine forest is absolutely real.

They say the shape was created in 1988 in Northwest Minnesota near Baudette.

At that time the part of the state was covered in jack pine which grew up after the fires in the 1930s.

Near the end of the century, forest management goals included breaking up that large expanse of single-aged forest to create younger, more diverse, multi-edged stands to create habitat and food for wildlife and reduce fire risk.

To plant and grow these patches of younger forest, older plots of trees had to be harvested.

Most of the timber sales set up at the time were simple rectangles – plots that looked more like North Dakota or Wyoming.

But one DNR forester with a passion for cartography and flair for creativity wanted to do something a little different.

Using a road map, a compass, and a hip chain (a device to measure distances), he set up a 23-acre timber sale in half a day and created an outline that may last more than a century.

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When harvest was completed in the winter of 1988, the shape revealed Minnesota in miniature.

Red pine was planted and when the surrounding mature jack pine forest was cut in 2007, the mini-Minnesota had become a visible, young, pine forest.

Since the cycle of final harvest and replanting of jack and red pine happen on different timelines, the “stately” borders should be visible for generations to come!

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