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Property master planning
planning resource management and facility development
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locate a great place to recreate
Contact information
For information on the Recreation Opportunities Analysis project, contact:
Cameron Bump
park and recreation specialist

Recreation opportunities analysis (ROA)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' mission includes providing a healthy, sustainable environment in which a full range of outdoor opportunities may be enjoyed by all people. To that end, the DNR is embarking on a study, known as the Recreation Opportunities Analysis (ROA), of existing outdoor-based recreation opportunities and future recreation needs in each region of the state. The study will identify future priorities for providing high-quality recreation experiences and the role of DNR properties in helping to meet those priorities.

Fishing a backwater slough on the Mississippi River © Copyright WI DNR 2010

Planning Update

The department hosted three open house meetings in Arbor Vitae, Park Falls, and Antigo on April 24, 25, and 26, respectively. These open houses were designed to gather public comments, ideas, concerns, and perspectives on the existing recreation opportunities available in the region and future needs. The open houses were also an opportunity for the public to provide comments and perspectives on existing and potential future recreation opportunities at the NHAL State Forest.

These meetings were well attended with over 150 people signing in. The material presented at the open houses included:

The department also developed a public input form (both online and hardcopy versions) that was available from April 10th through May 6th. Over 2,700 people submitted comments. Department staff are currently reviewing the results and will post a document summarizing the public comments on this web page in May.

Note: Additional public meetings will be held in the future in all seven other regions of the state.

General Information


hunting the big buckThe goals of the Recreation Opportunities Analysis are to:

  • ensure that DNR resources are focused on providing recreational opportunities in the most appropriate places;
  • identify highest priority future recreational needs in each planning region and the department properties that are best suited to meet these priorities;
  • provide information on the full spectrum of outdoor recreation in each region to the department's master planning process, and further, provide information and guidance that enables the master planning process to identify which roads on DNR properties should be open to motorized vehicles;
  • use the best available information to identify existing recreation opportunities and future needs and priorities in each region of the state; and
  • ensure there is ample opportunity for public and stakeholder input in selecting priorities.

UTV ridingOur analysis of recreation opportunities in Wisconsin will develop eight regional reports. These reports will describe existing recreation opportunities, future needs and priorities, and the potential role of state-owned lands in helping meet these priorities. The reports will provide guidance to the DNR's master planning process on a wide variety of recreation needs, including opportunities for incorporating motorized access.


rock climingThe DNR will start by engaging representatives of statewide stakeholder groups from a variety of recreation interests. This group will help the DNR develop a set of recreation goals and objectives and develop criteria to identify appropriate locations for recreational activities. The criteria will include attributes and conditions needed to provide a high-quality recreational experience, identify the potential impacts of those activities and determine appropriate geographic distribution of opportunities.

Next, the DNR will engage regional representatives from recreation interest groups, recreation providers, business and environmental groups and others. For purposes of this study, the DNR will use eight regions [PDF] developed by previous recreation studies. These regional teams will generate information on existing recreation opportunities, future needs and initial guidance on how DNR properties could help meet these needs. The public will have multiple opportunities to provide input in the process.

Connection to other projects

This analysis is being conducted concurrently with a legislatively-mandated DNR project to inventory and map all roads on department properties. The results of this road inventory project will help inform the Recreation Opportunities Analysis.

Also concurrent with this analysis is the development of the 2017-2022 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

The department will be using the results of the Northwoods Region recreation opportunities analysis to help inform the development of an amendment to the recreation portion of the master plan for the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest.

Region Information

Northwoods Region


The following maps have been prepared to provide background information. They are based on the best information that the department could gather at this time.

Properties in the Northwoods Region

State properties

Federal properties

County Forests

How to stay informed

The public will be invited to participate in the development of the regional reports. Public open house meetings and this website will be used to gather citizen input. Sign up to receive periodic updates and return to this web page for updates and a listing of opportunities to participate in the process.

Contact information
For information on the Recreation Opportunities Analysis study, contact:
Cameron Bump
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
1300 West Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire WI 54701
Last revised: Wednesday May 17 2017