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Flambeau River State ForestCurrent conditions

Conditions as of Thursday, May 25, 2017:

Black bear

Photo by Steve Kramer

Trail conditions

ATV/UTV trails are open for use. There is a detour on the north end of the Forest trail between Hwy E and Hwy 70. This detour is about 200 yards. Hiking trails [PDF] are open throughout the Forest. We have wet conditions due to high rainfall. Be sure to pack your tall rain boots. 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. This part of the trail may not be accessible this weekend due to high river levels. These are just a couple of the many unique and wonderful places here on the Flambeau River State forest.

Campground conditions

Lake of the Pines campground [PDF] is open 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. In the near future Lake of the Pines will be reserve able, until then it is first come first serve. 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 reserve able at Connors Lake campground 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. 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 3 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. There are several locations on the State Forest that you can purchase firewood for campfires. Make the Flambeau River State Forest a destination in your summer plans! It’s time to set up your summer camping schedule!

Swimming, boating and 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. Fishermen have been fishing the Flambeau River in hopes of catching walleye and bass, and there has been some success. Water levels are high and moving very fast on the Flambeau River. We are encouraging users to use common sense and extreme caution. There are wind blows, deadfalls and snags that are not necessarily visible. If your plan is to paddle down the Flambeau River this weekend, keep in mind those water levels. If you need more information about the FRSF, call us at 715-332-5271 ext. 101 or 111 or email us at: judy.freeman@wisconsin.gov or diane.stowell@wisconsin.gov.

Nature observations

May in the phenological timing of biological events is known as the Flower Moon month. Many wildflowers bloom: hummingbirds and other birds return: mosquitoes and black flies come out; tree leaves emerge; and fawns and calves are born. Blooming plants are everywhere. Large flowered bellwort, trilliums, bloodroot, side oats, marsh marigolds, jack-in-the–pulpits, sessile bellwort, trout lily, early season violets, lilacs, wow, the list goes on! The forest floor is bursting with newness. Geese and ducks are nesting and groups of goslings have been seen. A family of woodcocks were seen by an area resident and he described the chicks as tan little ping pong balls with sticks for legs. We got a chuckle out of that. Song birds are defending their territories where the females are already sitting on the nests. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, tree swallows, house wrens, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes, swans, red breasted grosbeaks, orioles 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. Bear are trying to fill up on proteins. The deer and elk have been busy grazing on new green shoots. The elk cows have been making calf scouting moves looking for a safe quiet area to have their calves. We are expecting this years’ young, deer and elk, to be born mid-May to mid-June. Thursday the 23rd of March, the Flambeau River State Forest proudly gained 28 new elk members from the state of Kentucky. They also will soon calve. We are looking forward to a genetic exchange and herd growth for the years to come.

We had a very nice surprise when the elk biologist found a missing pony in the middle of the Forest. This little black pony named "Night" had been missing from home for 8 days. He was looking a little rough for wear but was very happy to be caught and taken home. It was a good day and a happy reunion with his owners.

Just a reminder, to check and renew your annual licenses and vehicle licenses. Fishing season is open. Check your tackle and poles, buy some bait, and visit the Flambeau!

The weather forecast for the remainder of this week, according to the National Weather Service, indicates Thursday will have a high of 71 and a low of 52, Friday there is a chance of showers with a high of 70 and a low of 50, Saturday will be partly sunny with a high of 73 and low of 49, and Sunday there is a chance of t-storms with a high of 70 and low of 47. Memorial Day has a chance of showers with a high of 62 and low of 44. Come see us at the beautiful Flambeau River State Forest and have a great week and Memorial Day weekend!

Facilities opened and closed

Lake of the Pines Campground and Connors Lake Campground are open. Connors Lake Picnic Area is open.

Roads to and in the forest

All in 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: Thursday May 25 2017