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Northern Highland-American Legion State ForestCurrent conditions

Conditions as of Thursday, December 7, 2017:

NHAL lake

Mother Nature flipped the temperature switch early this week on the State Forest. Balmy and rainy turned to ice, snow and blustery overnight. The ground is dusted with a couple of inches of snow, making it great for studying animal and bird tracks. The snow does disguise the icy patches though, so explorers need to use caution and as always wear proper footwear. Redpolls, Pine siskins, snow buntings, and if you are lucky, pine grosbeaks can be seen on the landscape as they venture south from Canada. Turkeys are bunched up and once in a while a grouse can be seen “budding” in Ironwood and Aspen trees. The creatures that have not settled down for a long winter’s nap are busy trying to keep warm and find their next meal!

Trail conditions

The state forest offers five nature/interpretive trails for visitors to explore. Four of the nature trails have interpretive signs along the trail routes designed to teach a little about the history of the state forest, forest wildlife and plants and the cultural history of the area. The Tom Roberts Memorial Interpretive trail, located at the Crystal Lake Campground, is paved and wheelchair accessible.

In addition to our five nature trails, there are seven other trails designated for hiking. There are also hundreds of miles of old logging roads, less traveled town roads, forest access roads and snowmobile trails that offer good hiking. Be sure to bring along necessary protection from ticks and insects, if used. Trail crews have been busy brushing and mowing the trails to prepare for the winter use season.

Read the NHAL trail descriptions for more information.

Campground conditions

South Trout, Cunard, Plum, Starrett, Upper Gresham, Buffalo, Sandy Beach and East Star campgrounds are all closed for the season. Clear Lake is open year around and the others are open until the snow keeps campers out. Beach erosion control work has been completed at Cunard and Carol Lakes, with trees still needing to be planted next spring at the Buffalo Lake campground. Out houses (15) are being installed through November. Wells have been drilled and well pads are being poured. Crews have started to remove the 51 docks on the forests area lakes and will continue for the next three weeks.

Facilities open and closed

Trout Lake Forestry Headquarters no longer maintains regular open hours to the public. Crystal Lake Nature Center is closed for the season. All other facilities are open.

All shower buildings and flush toilets are closed for the season. Water has been shut off at the three dump stations, but campers can still dump camper contents with no water to flush systems. Drinking water is available at the front entrance of the Clear Lake Visitor Station.

Visitor station hours

Clear Lake Visitor Station is open daily 9AM to 5PM if staff is present. Crystal lake visitor Station is open Wednesdays 9AM to 5PM. Self- registration for camping is set up near the front door at both stations for campers wishing to register during closed hours.

Phone numbers
Crystal Lake: 715-542-3923
Clear Lake: 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 December 08 2017