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Governor Knowles State Forest
325 State Road 70
Grantsburg, WI 54840
Wisconsin State Parks and ForestsGovernor Knowles State Forest
The Governor Knowles State Forest is located in northwestern Wisconsin in Burnett and Polk Counties. It lies along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and encompasses approximately 34,000 acres (of which about 21,000 acres are state owned). The property's headquarters is located in the Village of Grantsburg.
The forest is perhaps most well-known for its proximity to the St. Croix River. Most of the 55 mile length of the long and narrow property lies along the St. Croix which is designated a National Scenic Riverway. The National Park Service manages the majority of the recreational facilities directly along the river.
Hunters will find whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, black bear, snowshoe hare, squirrel and woodcock on the forest. For visitors more interested in watching wildlife, the varied habitat on the forest afford opportunities to see a wide variety of animals, including sharp-tailed grouse, common yellow throat, bald eagles, pocket gopher, mink and muskrat. This state forest also provides a variety of trail-based activities such as hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, both a family and equestrian campground, and other nature based activities such as nature study and wildlife viewing.
Activities and resources
A variety of trail-based activities are provided such as hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. 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 trail
- 40 miles of hiking trail, with 4 backpack campsites along the trails
- 8.5 miles of cross country trail
- 62 miles of unimproved roads
- St. Croix Family Campground (31 sites)
- Sioux Portage Group Camp
- Trade River Equestrian Campground (40 sites)
- 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
- North Trail
- South Trail
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.