The consequences grew Tuesday in the wake of Sunday's violent storms that roared through western Minnesota and all through the state's midsection.

The Pillsbury State Forest, located just west of the hard-hit Brainerd lakes area, is closed "until further notice" because downed trees have made all forest roads and trails serving the forest impassable, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said Tuesday.

"The bulk of the damage occurred between Nisswa and Brainerd," Steve Bartz, the DNR's Brainerd area assistant forest supervisor, said Tuesday morning. "There is significant blowdown in these areas. Our staff will be flying over the area to assess the damage [Tuesday] morning."

Following the aerial surveillance, Bartz said the area affected was far smaller than initially feared. "We thought it would be thousands of acres, and it's more like in the low hundreds of acres," he said.

Bartz said he hopes that the forest can reopened "as quickly as possible," maybe by the end of next week.

In the meantime, the public is being asked to obey the road, trail and campground closures and not attempt to enter closed areas.

The next step is for the DNR to determine how to clear the roads and remove the trees. For more information, visit

Sunday night's storms were most devastating to the resorts, cabins and other property all around the Brainerd Lakes area. Several popular resorts, among them Cragun's and Madden's, are closed because of lost electricity and downed trees.

Danielle Hedberg, 35, of Ham Lake, was celebrating her anniversary with her husband and children at Cragun's when the storm cut short their trip. Hedberg said everyone at the resort was told to take shelter in the basement and hall. As soon as the storm passed, guests were ordered to stay in the banquet room.

Chainsaws were heard throughout the night, Hedberg said, as the resort worked to remove storm debris. Resort staff checked out residents the following day by candlelight with paper and pen.

Hedberg said the storm wiped out the resort's trees. "It was horrible," she said. "That place will never be the same."

Campers at Gull Lake Dam and Recreation Site near Brainerd also were evacuated, and the camp is closed indefinitely. The same is true for Legionville, where 135 kids at a safety patrol camp for middle-schoolers were retrieved by their families.