Northern Highland-American Legion State ForestCurrent conditions
As of Wednesday, July 1
Ring-necked duck (image courtesy Kimberly Krawczyk)
Campers have been reporting lots of wildlife sightings. A coyote has been seen hanging around the entrance to the Crystal Lake campgrounds. The bear sightings have moved from the campgrounds out to highway N between highway M and Sayner. Lots of eagle activity out on the island on Musky Lake and flying over campsites. Other reports include a jumbo bunny and painted turtles along the side of the road, along with squirrels and chipmunks on campsites.
Mosquitos at this time are not present in great numbers. A dense shaded forest will have many mosquitos, but day time, sunlit areas have not had great numbers of mosquitos. Ticks are still going strong and deerfly numbers are increasing. People that spend time in the field or camping know that insect numbers increasing this time of year is a normal annual event.
Please remember that fireworks are illegal in Wisconsin state parks and forests. Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend!
Lake and river conditions
Water levels on area lakes and streams are returning to close to normal levels. The Manitowish River is above normal flow for this time of year. Due to the mostly sandy forest soil, flooding has not been a factor.
Campgrounds are getting busier with the holiday weekend approaching. Some of our busiest campgrounds (Clear Lake, Crystal Lake, Firefly Lake, Musky lake, etc.) are expected to be full for the holiday weekend, but don’t let that discourage you from a holiday camping trip on the forest. Several of our outlying campgrounds will have campsites available (check our campsite availability--updated twice daily--on our iPhone app or our online webpage).
All campgrounds on the forest are in good summer condition. Mosquitoes and other pests are currently plentiful but not nearly as bad as they were at this time last year.
As we continue to get frequent rain, grass and other vegetation are growing very quickly. Campground maintenance crews are spending every spare moment mowing to try to keep up with the mowed areas.
It’s hard to believe, but this season’s first group of volunteer campground hosts has already reached the end of their stay.
Roads and facilities
Some trail work has been done on the Clear paved trail, sealcoating an area that has had some cracking. Due to the recent storms, some trees may be down on trails and we will be out clearing the trees and debris as time permits.
Volunteers continue to improve sections of the mountain bike loop at the Raven trail.
The Crystal Lake Nature Center is now 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
Both ranger stations are open 8 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. daily until Labor Day.
- Crystal Lake ranger station: 715-542-3923
- Clear Lake ranger station: 715-356-3668
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.