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Flambeau River State ForestCurrent conditions

Conditions as of Monday, March 20, 2017:

Wannigan's Group River Site

Wannigan's Group River Site

Trail conditions

Hiking trails are open throughout the forest. 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. The snow depth is patchy in the woods and the landscape beyond the trees is nearly snowless. With the warm temperatures of this week to come, snow may be gone. Some of these 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 loaded with large white pines and hemlocks. This is a very beautiful trail. 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. This is actually the perfect time to hike the landscape, as you can view and hear the newness of spring begin. 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 opens April 15th and Connors Lake Campground 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. 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 4 sites that are electric at Connors Lake Campground and will be charged accordingly. Both campgrounds are very well maintained and beautiful and are a wonderful camping experience. The Flambeau River State Forest operates and maintains 14 river sites on the North Fork of the Flambeau River. These river sites have up to 3 camping units at each river site. The sites include a picnic table, fire ring and toilet facilities. We also have sites that are used for groups. Individuals, families, small parties and groups are all welcome at the Flambeau. Make the Flambeau River State Forest a destination in your summer plans! Camping! Oh yeah!

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. The ice on the lakes is extremely dangerous at this point and extreme caution should be used. To learn more about ice safety, go to the DNR website and type in "ice safety." 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

We're nearing the end of March and it's a busy time out there! The snowshoe hare coats began to turn brown, the male red-winged blackbirds return, the river otters give birth, the grouse start drumming and the turkeys start strutting and gobbling. Some of the geese and ducks are heading north and finding open water patches. Deer and elk have been busy in the logged areas feeding on down tree branches and brush. It's pretty easy pickings in there. The deer have also been chewing on shoots in the open grass fields. The sap is running, and maple sugarers have been collecting and processing. This week should be a good sap running week with the cold nights and the warm days. Logging operations on the forest are virtually over until road bans are lifted.

Hazelnut will be blooming soon, and the silver maples and willows will start to flower also. Ravens, great horned owls and eagles have begun nesting. Pine siskins, yellow finches, morning doves, woodcocks, sandhill cranes, eagles, owls, a few swans and ducks are sporadically showing up on the landscape. Pussy willows have begun budding. Bird activity is increasing, so enjoy the easy viewing before leaf-on and take extra precautions with outdoor fires. Take time and quietly go out and see the splendor that post-winter offers.

Just a heads up, there is increased illegal harvest of white birch in the area. Law enforcement is monitoring this closely. Keep on the lookout.

The weather forecast for this week according to the National Weather Service indicates Tuesday a high of 33 with sunny skies and a low of 11 at night. The high Wednesday will be 38, sunny and a low of 22 at night. Thursday, partly sunny with a chance of rain and a high of 40 with a low of 32 at night. Friday, rain/freezing rain with a high of 45 and a low of 29. Saturday, a slight chance of snow/rain becoming partly sunny with a high near 42 and a low of 25. Sunday, sunny with a high near 45 and a low near 29. Bundle up and come see us at the beautiful Flambeau River State Forest and have a great week!

Facilities opened and closed

Lake of the Pines closed until April 15th and the Connors Lake Campground is closed until the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend. The Connors Lake Picnic Area is closed till the weather allows. ATV/UTV trails are closed till May 15th of 2017. Ski and snowmobile trails closed.

Roads to and in the forest

Most of the forest roads have the frost coming out, but still travelable and in relatively good condition.

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 March 22 2017