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Northern Highland-American Legion State ForestCurrent conditions

Conditions as of Feb. 17, 2017

Common Merganser (Photo by Kim Krawczyk)
Common Merganser (Photo by Kim Krawczyk)

2–5 inches of new heavy snow will make for perfect conditions for skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, you name it! Partridge can be seen "budding" in aspen and ironwood. A brown creeper occasionally shows up with the winter feeding flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, gold finches and pine siskins. The grey squirrels are thinking about Valentine's for their mates and every once in a while one catches a whiff of a fox or coyote marking their territories. In the dead of winter, love is in the air!

Trail conditions

The recent winds have left much leafy debris on the trails with reports of the tracks being icy and fast. We have tried to cut up the tracks and turn most of the leaves into the base. The forecast calls for another stretch of warm weather over the next couple of days. Conditions will change rapidly with the warm sunny days.

  • Escanaba Trail (2/17/2017) – All loops cut and tracked. Good conditions
  • Raven Trail (2/16/2017) – Blue and green loops have been cut twice and tracked. Good conditions
  • Madeline Trail (2/16/2017) – All loops cut twice and tracked. Good conditions.
  • McNaughton Trail (2/13/2017) – All loops groomed. Good conditions.

Read the NHAL trail descriptions for more information.

The state forest offers five nature/interpretive trails for visitors to explore. Four of the nature trails have interpretive signs along the trail routes designed to teach a little about the history of the state forest, forest wildlife and plants and the cultural history of the area. The Tom Roberts Memorial Interpretive trail, located at the Crystal Lake Campground, is paved and wheelchair accessible.

In addition to our five nature trails, there are seven other trails designated for hiking. There are also hundreds of miles of old logging roads, less traveled town roads, forest access roads and snowmobile trails that offer good hiking. Conditions are great at this time and be sure to bring along necessary protection from ticks and insects, if used.

Campground conditions

South, Plum, Cunard, Sandy Beach, East Star, Starrett, Upper Gresham and Buffalo campgrounds are closed for camping until spring of 2017. Water has been shut off and buildings winterized in all shower buildings on the property. Dump station water has been turned off, but campers may still dump their camping waste but will not be able to flush their systems. A state park sticker is still required to use the dump stations. Most hand pumps and vault toilets remain open well into the winter until snow closes the remaining campgrounds. Firewood is still available for purchase during open hours of the Ranger Stations.

Facilities open and closed

Crystal Lake Nature Center closed until springtime.

Roads to and in the property

As forest roads accumulate more snow, vehicular access gets limited. After snowmmobile trails are groomed and opened for the season, vehicular traffic is not allowed on groomed trails.

Ranger station hours

Crystal Lake Ranger Station will be open when staff are available. Please call ahead at 715-542-3923. Self-registration for camping is available at the front of the building. Clear Lake Ranger Station is open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and most days until 5 p.m. when staff is available. 715-356-3668. Drinking water for camping is available at the front of the building. Self-Registration is available at the front of the building also. Instructions and maps are posted on the kiosks next to the self-registration envelopes.

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: Monday February 20 2017