|Camp Ripley is proud of its reputation of conserving and preserving its natural and cultural resources. The Environmental Office supports solider readiness through research, guidance and implementation of sustainable, environmentally responsible practices. With the increased operational tempo caused by the Global War on Terrorism more pressure has been placed on our training lands, the role of the Environmental Office has been critical in accommodating the military mission while mitigating the impact on our natural resources. Also, through environmental outreach thousands of visitors pass through the Camp Ripley Environmental office annually to witness their efforts and participate in a variety of field activities. Because Camp Ripley has excelled in its role as environmental stewards, these resources will be available for future generations.
Camp Ripley abounds with plant and animal life unique to central Minnesota. Surveys have identified 565 types of plants, 202 bird species, 41 species of fish, 107 types of aquatic invertebrates, 65 species of butterflies, 51 mammal species, 23 reptiles and amphibians, and 8 mussel species. Wildlife species of particular interest include the bald eagle, white-tailed deer, black bear, gray wolf and Blanding’s turtle. With a population of 20-25 deer per square mile and its potential for trophy deer, Camp Ripley has been nationally recognized as having an exceptionally healthy deer herd. The Department of Natural Resources began monitoring the deer population at Camp Ripley in 1954, the first year of the annual white-tail bow hunt. Several Camp Ripley hunting opportunities are offered annually including the Disabled American Veterans deer hunt (established in 1992).
Camp Ripley's environmental office enjoys the credit of many success stories, among the most notable concerning nuisance bear activity. In 1991, increased nuisance activity from black bears prompted a study to estimate the size of the bear population on the base and develop management recommendations for nuisance bears. The population was estimated at 20-25 bears, and it was found that over 90% of the nuisance activity was being caused by three bears. With improved understanding of the population and nuisance activity, Environmental staff were able to determine a suitable course of action to resolve the issue. Since the study there have been very few nuisance bear reports. Other successes include implementation of the Camp Ripley Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program and installation wide soil stabilization through proven erosion control measures and vegetation management practices, to include invasive species control. Camp Ripley also has some of the largest populations of red-headed woodpeckers, red-shouldered hawks, and Blanding’s turtles in the state. Current management efforts such as annually prescribed fire, retention of select mature forest stands, and wetland protection has a direct influence on the success of these populations.
The environmental office also conducts numerous ongoing studies, on wildlife and plants, to document the quality of wildlife habitat found at Camp Ripley and to investigate relationships between military activities and sensitive wildlife species. To date, these studies have demonstrated a high degree of compatibility between military activities and wildlife species. For example, while it has long been thought that gray wolves are sensitive wilderness dwellers unable to adapt to human activity, a radio telemetry study has found that the wolves breed and raise their young relatively close to centers of military activity and are in fact quite adaptable.
To help manage all of Camp Ripley's resources, a GIS (Geographic Information System) has been implemented on site. GIS helps answer questions for Camp Ripley staff such as where are appropriate locations for sustainable training sites, what areas on camp are protected because of historic value, what habitat types have radio collared wildlife been occupying, etc. Another useful aspect of Camp Ripley's GIS is the capability to create specific, professional map products customized for the immediate needs of customers and staff.
Camp Ripley substitutes as an environmental classroom for local schools and students. For many years, students from local schools have trekked to Camp Ripley to learn about protection and managing the environment. More recently students have had the opportunity to pair up with local staff and participate in daily work activities. The concept is popularly referred to as the "Shadow Program". Camp Ripley is also utilized by college and university students to gain experience through a variety of opportunities from access to data for analysis projects, to discipline specific hands-on experience, as well as Graduate and Doctorate level research projects. These programs are designed to give students real life, on-the-job experience in a field that is interesting to them. It exposes the students to activities that cannot be simulated in a traditional classroom setting. What could be a better place to learn about the environment than a 53,000 acre laboratory?
Camp Ripley is proud of becoming a leader in our environmentally conscious community. Making constant use of updated technology combined with a caring, well educated staff, has allowed Camp Ripley to maintain its excellence in environmental stewardship.
|Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB)
With increasing military activities, it is important to ensure adequate training capabilities for our soldiers. Noise, dust, and smoke are inherent to training exercises that must be carried out round the clock. As development increases near and around Camp Ripley, land-use conflicts arise between military exercises and development activities that are sensitive to the impacts of training.
ACUB is designed to be a 3 mile buffer around Camp Ripley to limit encroachment on lands neighboring the installation. The total land proposed to be enrolled is approximately 110,000 acres. This goal will be accomplished through conservation easements with willing landowners only.
For fiscal year 2012, there is just over 13,000 acres enrolled in the program and another 30,000 acres on a waiting list to be enrolled.
For additional information or enrollment in the ACUB initiative, see the “Resources” section below or contact Jay Brezinka (information below).
|Martin J. Skoglund Environmental Classroom
The Martin J. Skoglund Environmental Classroom is located on Camp Ripley in the Training and Community Center. Primarily an environmental presentation and interpretive center for visiting groups. This room hosts a variety of representative wildlife specimens that inhabit the installation. In addition to group tours the classroom can also be reserved for meetings and small events. Contact the Environmental staff listed below to arrange your group visit.
| Cultural Resources
The land that comprises Camp Ripley has a long history of use and habitation by humans. The environmental staff at Camp Ripley consults with Federally Recognized Tribes to investigate, preserve and protect the cultural resources and archaeological sites at Camp Ripley. Some of these sites may date as far back as 4,000 years ago. More contemporary historical resources include the Governor’s Lodge of Valhalla and the granite wall that surrounds the entrance to Camp Ripley.
Camp Ripley Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) Application.pdf
Conservation Program 2012 Annual Report.pdf
Hunting and fishing on Camp Ripley
| Contact Information
15000 Highway 115,
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173