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Northern Highland-American Legion State ForestCurrent conditions

As of Wednesday, February 10

Nordic blading on Hemlock Lake (Photo by Debbie Harvey-Fredrickson)
Nordic blading on Hemlock Lake (photo by Debbie Harvey-Fredrickson)

It is truly a winter wonderland in the forest now. Snow depths are great for skiing and snowshoeing and one does not have to worry about the slush on the area lakes when you are out in the woods! Chickadees, nuthatches, wood peckers and red poles are busy at area feeders and it will be a great weekend for the Backyard Bird count. Shrikes, ermine and bunnies are also frequenting feeders and possibly a bobcat if one has a suet feeder out. Stop, look and listen if you venture out!

Trout Lake forestry Headquarters near the town of Boulder Junction has about 13 inches of snow on the ground. The frequent minor snowfalls we have had recently has resulted in slush deposits on area lakes. The lake ice has been poor in quality most of the year and vehicle travel has been limited with exceptions. Pelican Lake south of the Northern Highland- American Legion State Forest had 16 inches of ice with vehicle traffic with four wheel drive able to move about fairly easily last Saturday. The current cold spell should freeze some of the slush areas enough to improve access and fishing conditions. Ice fishing tournaments are going strong and can be a good way to meet people, and in many cases, support a good cause. Contact area bait shops or Chambers of Commerce for information on fishing and other winter activities.

We still have a couple of openings for volunteer campground hosts for the coming summer – one at Cunard Lake mid-summer, and one at Clear Lake in fall. Contact Joe Fieweger at 715-385-3355 ext 113 or joseph.fieweger@wi.gov if interested.

- NHAL operations and visitor services staff

Ski Trail Update


  • Escanaba Trail - 2/7/16 - All loops tracked. Very good conditions.
  • Madeline Trail - 2/9/16 - All loops tracked. Very good conditions.
  • McNaughton Trail - 2/10/16 - Skaters loop leveled and groomed. All other loops leveled, cut and tracked. Good conditions.
  • Raven Trail - 2/8/16 - All loops tracked. Good conditions.

Cross Country Ski Trail grooming and trail conditions

The NHAL Cross Country Ski Trail grooming and trail conditions can be found at different locations for your convenience:

Trails and facilities

The forest's trail crew is working on the Escanaba trail to improve trail tread. The trail pass fee boxes have been removed at the Lumberjack Trail, as it is now a non-fee trail.

The Crystal Lake Nature Center is closed until Memorial Day weekend 2016.

Ranger station winter hours

The Clear Lake ranger station is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The Crystal Lake Ranger Station is open only when staff is available, so if you are planning a visit, please call first.

  • Crystal Lake ranger station: 715-542-3923
  • Clear Lake ranger station: 715-356-3668

Winter camping is available at the Clear Lake Campground. Campers arriving after close are able to self-register near the front door of the station. Posted maps will advise campers which sites are open. Dump stations and shower buildings are closed for the season. Firewood is available for purchase whenever the ranger stations are open.

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 February 10 2016