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Governor Knowles State Forest
325 State Road 70
Grantsburg, WI 54840
Wisconsin State Parks and ForestsGovernor Knowles State Forest
Established in 1970 as the St. Croix River State Forest, the forest was re-designated the Governor Knowles State Forest in 1981 to recognize former Governor Warren P. Knowles for his administration’s progress in conservation. Four thousand acres that were donated by the Northern States Power Company in 1971 formed the nucleus of the state forest in those early years.
Today, the state forest is 55 miles long and up to two miles wide, and encompasses 32,500 acres, acting as an extended resource protection zone for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. A designated wilderness zone buffers the Riverway throughout the length of the state forest. Six designated state natural areas within the forest preserve unique biotic communities.
Although a primary state forest objective is to preserve and protect the St. Croix River and its valley, forest management provides multiple benefits, including scenic beauty, water quality protection, wildlife habitat, forest production and recreation.
Activities and resources
A variety of activities are provided such as biking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, snowmobiling and nine primitive campsites. The primary draws to the property are hunting, fishing and the equestrian trails and campground.
In total, Governor Knowles provides:
- 32 miles of winter ATV and snowmobile trails
- 40 miles of hiking trail, with 4 backpack campsites along the trails
- 8 miles of skate and classic cross country ski trails
- 62 miles of unimproved roads
- St. Croix Family Campground (31 sites)
- Sioux Portage Group Camp
- Trade River Equestrian Campground (40 sites)
- 40+ miles of equestrian trails
- 12 class two trout streams
Certain groups and individuals may be eligible for waivers on vehicle admission, trail pass or camping fees.
Maps and pubs
Hiking and skiing trails
These maps were prepared by Amy B. Torrey, UW-Extension, Environmental Resource Center.
Management and business
Governor Knowles State Forest master plan
Completed in September of 2012, the Governor Knowles State Forest master plan reflects years of planning and public input. The final plan, maps, variances and amendments are included in the plan, as well as documents used during the plan's development.
Public involvement in state forest management, operations and monitoring is part of sustainable forestry. We seek public involvement because we believe people, communities, organizations and businesses realize the potential public benefits of state forests and are willing to work to further the goals of sustainable forestry.
Timber sale program
The state forests are managed sustainably for multiple uses. Active timber management is a part of that overall effort on many parts of each forest. Timber sales are advertised for sale typically from one to three times annually, depending on the size of the forest.
Learn more about Governor Knowles State Forest timber sales.