The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary

View black bears in their native habitat from the safety of a raised observation deck. Operated by the American Bear Association, the sanctuary is a seasonal home to around 50 bears and an abundance of other wildlife. Located about 50 miles northwest of Virginia, a late-afternoon visit to the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is a great side trip while staying on the Iron Range!

Contact & Directions

Follow Highway 53 north of Virginia to about one mile south of Orr. Turn left at the Dam restaurant (county road 23/Nett Lake Road) and follow it 13.3 miles to just beyond a sign for county road 514. You will see a sign for the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary and a road leading to the parking lot. Visit the VSWS website here.

Hours & Rates

Open 5-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday beginning Memorial Day Weekend (closed Memorial Day) and closing the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for kids ages 6-17. Group rates available. The viewing area is closed during poor weather, including lightning.

Interesting Facts

Vince Shute began feeding wild bears at his logging camp in the early 1970s as a way of keeping them away from buildings. Over the years, bears continued to forage at the site. When Shute passed away in 2000, he left the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary as his legacy.