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Flambeau River State ForestCurrent conditions

Conditions as of Tuesday, April 25, 2017:

Wannigan's Group River Site

Bull elk, photo by Wisconsin DNR.

Trail conditions

Hiking trails [PDF] are open throughout the forest. This is actually the perfect time to hike the landscape, as you can see and hear the newness of spring and enjoy hiking without the many bugs. Lake of the Pines Nature Trail, Little Falls/Slough Gundy Scenic Area, Bass Lake Wilderness Area and Sobieski Wildlife Area and the Old Oxbo Ski Trail are just to name a few. Some of the trails can be a real challenge. If you choose to go to Lake of the Pines nature trail or Little Falls/Slough Gundy scenic area, there are map containers on the entrance posts of the trails, just grab a map. When hiking Lake of the Pines, you can enter this trail at Lake of the Pines landing or across from the registration station for the campground. This trail runs along the bluffs on the west bank of Lake of the Pines and into some rolling hills containing some large white pines and hemlocks. The trail takes you past an ephemeral pond that is filled with croaking and peeping of frogs. This pond is about 1/10th of an acre in size and is located at DM Lat. 45 47.188855; DM Long. of -90 42.421156. Well worth exploring. This is a very interesting trail and you can see the succession of trees and forestry practices. When hiking Little Falls/Slough Gundy be sure to read the signs carefully, and if you are able to traverse boulders and cross a rocky river bed, try crossing to Slough Gundy. Once across the river bed just follow the path and you will see some large white pines, cedars, hemlocks and also some unusual rock formations. There are cliffs on the north end of Slough Gundy, and it's a great place to watch and listen to the wild world around you. These are just a couple of the many unique and wonderful places here on the Flambeau River State forest. Come hike with us!

Campground conditions

Lake of the Pines campground [PDF] opened April 15th and Connors Lake campground [PDF] opens the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, May 25th. Lake of the Pines is a very beautiful rustic, quiet and very well maintained campground. It is located on a bluff overlooking Lake of the Pines. Many of the sites are on the lake side where you can watch the early morning sunrise in the east. It has a very nice nature trail connected to the campgrounds where you can hike and explore the flora and fauna of the area. Connors Lake campground also has a number of sites located on the lake, and all the sites are just a few steps away from a beautiful little sandy beach and it also is very well maintained. Both campgrounds will offer a wonderful camping experience. If you are interested in reserving sites for 2017, all of the sites are reserveable at Connors Lake campground and many of the sites are reserveable at Lake of the Pines by going on reserveamerica.com [exit DNR] or calling 1-888-947-2757 to register. There are only four sites that are electric at Connors Lake campground and will be charged accordingly. The Flambeau River State Forest operates and maintains 14 river sites on the North Fork of the Flambeau River that are free for public use. These river sites have up to three camping units at each river site. The sites include a picnic table, fire ring and toilet facilities. Individuals, families, small parties and groups are all welcome at the Flambeau. Make the Flambeau River State Forest a destination in your summer plans! It's time to set up your summer camping schedule!

Fishing conditions

The Flambeau River and the surrounding lakes in the state forest (Connors, Lake of the Pines, Bass, Swamp, Pelican, Mason and Evergreen Lakes) are great places to fish, paddle and explore. People are out catching redhorse and catfish on the Flambeau River. Pan fish fishing is open all year round and crappies should be moving into shallow water. The docks have been installed in Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines and soon we will be installing the buoys. Some folks have been taking advantage of the bugless weather and good water level on the Flambeau River and paddling down river and using the scenic river sites for camping and picnicking. If you need more information, call us at 715-332-5271 ext. 101 or 111 or email us at diane.stowell@wisconsin.gov.

Nature observations

April in the phenology calendar is Maple Sugar Moon. It's time to plant tree seedlings. The wood frogs and spring peepers are calling; walleyes are spawning; wild leeks and fiddleheads come out; early wildflowers bloom; tree buds burst and trees begin to flower, like aspen and dogwood, and the red maple twigs turn red. Bloodroot and Virginia waterleaf are flowering. The snowshoe hare coats are turning brown, the male red-winged blackbirds have returned, the grouse are drumming and the turkeys are strutting and gobbling and are gathering hens. Geese and ducks are back and the geese are seen in large flocks many of them flying north. Some are already nesting. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, tree swallows, house wrens, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes and some swans and kingfishers have been seen by many of the area residents and Forest staff. There even was a siting of a yellow warbler and Myrtle's Warbler. The deer and elk have been busy grazing on new green shoots. Elk cows and deer does have entered their third trimester of pregnancy and the early spring will ensure large and feisty youngsters.

Deer shed hunters are on the hunt and if you are in the elk areas, they are shedding their antlers too. Thursday the 23rd of March, the Flambeau River State Forest proudly gained 28 new elk members from the state of Kentucky. We are looking forward to a genetic exchange and herd growth for the years to come. Spring turkey Period B is open till the 2nd of May. There is a New Moon on the 26th of April.

Some road bans were lifted today so logging operations on parts of the forest can collect the remainder of this winter's cut logs. Bird activity is increasing, so enjoy the easy viewing before leaf-on and take extra precautions with outdoor fires. This is peak wildfire season so it's important to stay aware of fire danger. Wherever you are, take time and quietly go out and see the splendor that spring offers, you will be amazed at the wondrous activity.

Just a reminder, to check and renew your annual licenses and vehicle licenses.

The weather forecast for the remainder of this week, according to the National Weather Service, indicates rain likely Wednesday with a high of 42 and a low of 31, Thursday with a high of 40 with a chance of rain and a low of 29, Friday will be partly sunny with a high of 48 and low of 31, Saturday partly sunny with a high of 50 and low of 32. Sunday, rain and snow likely with a high of 46 and low around 32. Come see us at the beautiful Flambeau River State Forest and have a great week!

Facilities opened and closed

Lake of the Pines campground is open. Connors Lake picnic area will be opening the 1st week of May. Connors Lake campground is closed till the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend. ATV/UTV trails are closed till May 15th of 2017.

Roads to and in the forest

All in good condition.

Coming events to note

May 6th is the opening of the fishing season. Pack up, bring the family and come fishing.

Firewood notice: As of June 1, 2014, firewood from more than 10 miles away is not allowed on Wisconsin State Park or Forest properties. Also, firewood that has been in an emerald ash borer quarantined area is not allowed on properties outside of the quarantined area. Please buy firewood at or near the park or forest where you are going. Call the DNR toll-free Firewood Hotline, 1-877-303-WOOD (1-877-303-9663) for information before packing for a trip. For more information, see firewood facts, rules and advice or ask the park or forest office. Maps are available to view the 10-mile radius of allowable firewood on state properties.

Last revised: Wednesday April 26 2017