LRP - Licenses

LRP - Regulations

LRP - Permits

Recreation - Everyone

Recreation - Trapping

Recreation - Fishing

Recreation - Hunting

Education - Everyone

Education - Kids

Education - Educators

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

Find a property
Search for a Wisconsin state park, forest, recreation area or trail
Information about camping
Purchase a vehicle admission sticker or state trail pass
Get Outdoors!
Explore the outdoors with family and friends

Northern Highland-American Legion State ForestCurrent conditions

As of Thursday, October 15

Pileated woodpecker chicks at Crystal Lake (image courtesy Kim Krawczyk)
Pileated woodpecker chicks at Crystal Lake (photo by Kim Krawczyk)

The strong fall winds over the past few days are taking the peak color leaves with them. There is still a glorious show out there though and pretty soon the grouse won’t be hidden by those blackberry bushes! Golden hues and quiet times are at a premium right now.

Campground conditions

All shower buildings and dump station water towers are turned off for the season. Potable water is available using the hand pumps located throughout the campgrounds. Campers can still use the dump stations but no rinse water is available.

Buffalo Lake, Cunard Lake, East Star Lake, Plum Lake, Starrett Lake, South Trout Lake, Upper Gresham Lake and Sandy Beach Lake campgrounds are all closed for the season. Our other 10 campgrounds remain open as long as snow conditions allow and a few campsites at Clear Lake will be plowed for winter use, so there are still plentiful camping opportunities for late season campers.

Fall project work in the campgrounds is in full swing. Hazard tree cutting has been done in several campgrounds and will continue over the next few weeks. Campers are welcome to collect this down wood for use while they are here camping. Campgrounds will open to home firewood gatherers (with a permit) on November 1.

Check our campsite availability (updated twice daily) on our iPhone app and on our website.

Rivers and lakes

Lack of rain in September has contributed to receding lake water levels. Rhinelander is down over four inches for the year. The lower lake water levels have had little effect on boat landings and canoe sites, however. Lake water levels have dropped recently but nothing as substantial as the drought of 2000-2010.

We've begun to take out seasonal boarding docks. There are 46 docks to remove so we need to start the process with enough time to avoid the snow and ice that November can bring. We recommend the use of hip or knee boots for those hardy enough to fish and use the boat landings in late fall.

Water levels on area rivers such as the Wisconsin and Manitowish varies this time of year depending on volume of water being released by water control structures, but not enough to impede travel.

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 open. Nature Center hours are:

  • Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ranger station hours

Through the end of September, both Crystal Lake and Clear Lake ranger stations are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Thursdays, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays.

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

Campers arriving after close are able to self-register near the front door of each station. Posted maps will advise campers which sites are open. Weather permitting, dump stations and shower buildings will be kept open until Columbus Day. 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: Thursday October 15 2015