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Northern Highland-American Legion State ForestCurrent conditions

As of Thursday, April 28

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

The recent rain will fuel a fast green up as the temperatures warm up next week. This is a great time of the year to perform random acts of kindness, like picking up trash and recyclables along your favorite trail, natural area or walk in the State Forest. In a couple of weeks the grasses will cover up that bottle or can that can be put back to good use! You may be rewarded with spotting a rare spring flower or plant, or witnessing a heron, osprey or song bird gathering materials for their nests, or listen to a grouse drumming in his territory. A few song birds are working their way back. Gold crowned kinglets, purple finches and white throated sparrows are delighting the days with their songs. Various waterfowl are protecting their nests and mates from visitors and of course the spring peepers and wood frogs are happy that it is getting warmer out!

Lake and stream water level on the NHAL SF are still in the normal to above normal range. We have installed about half of our 50 boarding docks and should have most of the docks in before fishing opener.

Campground crews continue our spring cleaning of toilet facilities, roads, and campsites. Please be patient, as it will take a few weeks to get through all 18 of our campgrounds. Early season campers will find campgrounds in varying states of readiness for the season depending on whether crews have made it to that campground or not. Blowing of leaves and other forest debris from roads and campsites and “deep cleaning” of vault toilet buildings have been completed at Clear Lake, Indian Mounds, and Carrol Lake Campgrounds. Crews are now working on campgrounds in the Crystal Lake area. Buffalo Lake, Starrett Lake, and Upper Gresham Lake Campgrounds will open for the season on Thursday, May 5th. Cunard Lake, East Star Lake, Plum Lake, Sandy Beach Lake, and South Trout Lake Campgrounds remain closed until Monday, May 23rd. All other campgrounds on the forest are open.

We plan to have all four shower buildings on the forest open by Friday, May 6.

- NHAL staff

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: Thursday April 28 2016