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Northern Highland-American Legion State ForestCurrent conditions

As of Wednesday, February 26

Crystal campground road within the NHAL State Forest (image courtesy Kimberly Krawczyk)Ice thickness on area lakes averages about 18 inches. The ice thickness is still not uniform as the occasional light snowfalls we receive insulate the ice from cold temperatures above. The recent low temperatures have reduced the slush on lakes but a double layer of ice, with slush in between, can still be found. Ice fishing action is difficult to report as the frigid temperatures and high winds have kept a majority of anglers from venturing out. Walleye activity seems to be slow but northern pike and bass are providing some daylight action.

A wave of pine siskins and redpolls cover the ground and bird feeders during this cold snap. The “cheeseburger” song of the chickadee puts a wish of spring in a hiker’s heart. The grey squirrels are starting to pay more attention to each other as the days start to get longer and an occasional grouse can be seen struttin’ their stuff to a lady somewhere within their eyesight!

Campground conditions

There are currently two campsites plowed at Clear Lake for winter campers. Use has been very light, so come on out - campers will likely have the campgrounds to themselves. Portions of the roadways in the Clear Lake and Crystal Lake Campgrounds are plowed for winter walking and leashed dogs are welcome. There are lots of opportunities to snowshoe on the forest. The Raven Snowshoe trail is packed and has several loops. Snowshoers can park at the Clear Lake Picnic area and boat landing off Hwy J. Also popular for snowshoeing are the Fallison, North Trout and Star Lake Nature trails, these trails are not groomed, but the lots are kept open for parking. – NHAL operations and visitor services staff

Ski trails report

Cross country ski trails are still in good shape. Light snow falls and very chilly temperatures have helped. All loops were tracked on the Madeline Trail on February 24 and are in good condition. At the McNaughton ski trail the skaters loop was groomed on February 16 and the classic loops were cut and tracked on February 20th, all are in good condition. On February 22, the Escanaba trail was cut and tracked and it is in very good condition. As for the Raven Trail, on February 24 all loops were cut and tracked, are in good condition. - Tony Martinez, forestry facilities worker

Call 715-385-3355 ext. 121 or go online at SkinnySki.com [exit DNR] for the latest information.

  • Madeline Trail (February 24) – All loops tracked. Good conditions.
  • McNaughton Trail (February 25) – Skaters loop groomed. Classic loops cut and tracked. Good conditions.
  • Escanaba Trail (February 26) – All loops cut and tracked. Very good conditions.
  • Raven Trail (February 24) – All loops cut and tracked. Good conditions.

Roads and facilities

The Crystal Lake Nature Center is closed.

Ranger station hours

The Clear Lake ranger station is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and when staff are present. The Crystal Lake ranger station is open only when staff are present.

  • 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.

Last revised: Friday February 27 2015