Published January 3, 2019 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
For current statewide information on statewide snow conditions, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR).
Some timely snowfalls at the end of the year and beginning of the new year have allowed additional northern counties to open snowmobile trails and allowed more state park and forest properties to groom ski trails.
Some areas of northern and central Wisconsin received snowfalls up to 5 to 6 inches. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR) now lists half a dozen counties with open snowmobile trails with most listing fair conditions. Nearly a dozen state park and forest properties are reporting ski conditions ranging from good to poor.
The first candlelight event of the winter will take place this Saturday at Mirror Lake State Park. Warm temperatures in the forecast caused cancellation of another candlelight event at Blue Mound, so people planning on attending Mirror Lake should call ahead to confirm and for conditions. As of Thursday ski conditions at the park ranged from fair to poor. The Brule River State Forest is holding the 24th Annual Riverview Loppet Ski Races Saturday and are reporting good conditions with 4 to 5 inches of base on the trails. A reminder to hikers and snowshoers, once ski trails are snow covered and being groomed they are no longer open for hiking.
Ice anglers were out in good numbers on northern lakes over the holidays with reports of 6 to 12 inches of ice. However many lakes in southern Wisconsin have open water. Lakes Mendota and Monona in Madison reopened late last year after freezing over in mid-December.
Bear cubs are being born in dens now and other hardy residents such as coyotes, fishers, owls and hawks are on a constant lookout for small mammals and rabbits. Short-tailed weasels have turned to white in color with the black tail tip.
Great horned owls have begun hooting and claiming territories. Rough-legged hawks and snow buntings are numerous in the Crex Meadows area, where pine siskins are also beginning to arrive.
The first candlelight event of the winter will take place this Saturday at Mirror Lake State Park. Warm temperatures in the forecast caused cancellation of another candlelight event at Blue Mound, so people planning on attending Mirror Lake should call ahead to confirm and for conditions. As of Thursday ski conditions at the park ranged from fair to poor. The Brule River State Forest is holding the 24th Annual Riverview Loppet Ski Races and Havenwoods and Horicon Marsh are both holding winter hikes. #OutWiGo
Click on the links below for highlighted programs this weekend or click on Get Outdoors," for a complete listing of events.
Saturday, January 5, 2019
For all events search Get Outdoors
Jan 5, 9 a.m.-noon: Waubesa Wetlands workday: Cutting and burning brush - Join the new volunteer effort to restore Waubesa Wetlands! Waubesa is known for its large, high quality wetlands and spring complexes. With increased prescribed burning and brush control DNR crews and volunteers have increased efforts to improve this site. This workday will focus on cutting, treating, and piling brush on the edge of an oak woods. No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Last week brought rain, followed by lots of snow. We now have about 12 inches of snow on the ground and the trees are wearing a heavy coat of snow and ice. This is how January is supposed to look! Temperatures in the mid 30s over the next few days, however, may change the look of things. Cross-country ski trails have all been tracked. There is about 4-5 inches of base. Expect many overhanging branches and some sticks and branches on the trails as the heavy snow last week downed many small trees. The 24th Annual River View Loppet ski races will be held this Saturday, Jan. 5, at the AfterHours Ski Trails. There are classic and freestyle races for youth and adults. There is also a 3.5K Family Fun Tour! This event is sponsored jointly by the Brule Valley Ski Club, the Brule River State Forest, and the Brule Lions Club. Check out the Ski Club's website for more information and a registration form. http://brulexcski.com/river-view-loppet (exit DNR) - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Pattison State Park - Cross-country ski trails were rolled Jan. 2 and the Overlook Trail was groomed and tracked. We have about 4-5 inches of base and 16 inches of snow in the woods. A vehicle admission sticker is required. - Gervase Thompson, ranger
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area - With the new year we got a little more snow for the MECCA Cross-country ski trails. They were groomed for skate and classic skiing Wednesday, Jan. 2. Some rough spots are still out there, but as a whole the trail is in great shape. The chalet at the trail head is heated and open to the public everyday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.. See you on the trail! - Brett Bockhop, parks and recreation specialist
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland American Legion State Forest - The forest received about 5 inches of snow at the end of December, bringing snow depth in the woods to 8 to 10 inches. Cross-country ski trails are in fair to good condition. Madeline and McNaughton and Raven trails have not been groomed but were packed (rolled/compacted) on Dec. 28-29. All loops have been packed. There are a few slush spots from the rain but should freeze up with the coming colder temperatures. Escanaba trails were groomed for classic skiing and were tracked on Dec. 29. Packed all loops and set track where snow depth was sufficient (about 75 percent of trail). Thin base and lots of debris in areas, but better conditions than expected. Overall fair early season conditions. - Tony Martinez, park and recreation specialist
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Winter weather has arrived in the Grantsburg Area and bird activity is at a low point. Flowages and lakes are iced over at this point, and we have had several inches of snow over the last couple of weeks. Rough-legged hawks and snow buntings are numerous in the area, and pine siskins are beginning to arrive. The highlight of the week was a great horned owl seen in the area. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - January, the beginning of the new year is known as the Great Spirit Moon. Great horned owls have begun hooting and claiming territories; northern cardinals begin spring songs. You need to spend a night under the stars to truly appreciate the month of January. There is a layer of ice on the lakes and a lightly snow covered world around us. Snowmobile trails will open when there is enough snow to groom the trails. The Flambeau Hills Hiking, Biking and Ski Trail has approximately 2 to 3 inches of snow depth. Not enough for grooming. The deer and the elk are conserving their energy and aggressively browsing in logging areas. They really like the occasional clear cut aspen areas for browse. In the sub-zero temperatures the deer and elk are found under the conifer canopy and their activities are reduced. Bears, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and woodchucks are the hibernators. Bear cubs are being born in dens now and other hardy residents such as coyotes, fishers, owls and hawks are on a constant lookout for small mammals and rabbits. Winter is a hungry time in the north. The hardier birds such as the juncos, snow buntings, woodpeckers, blue jays, crows and eagles are eating seeds, insects under the tree bark or carrion along the roadsides. The weasels have turned to white in color with the black tail tip. They are ferocious little carnivores also called ermine with quick agile movements. They have a slender serpentine-like body that can easily move through small burrows looking for mice and other rodents for their sustenance. They are also very good climbers and enjoy an occasional squirrel snack. There are 14 active logging sales at this time on the Flambeau River State Forest. Be aware of large logging trucks on the roads. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be partly sunny with a high of 35 and a low of 24. Saturday, mostly sunny with a high of 39 and a low of 21. Sunday, mostly cloudy with a high of 33 and a low of 27. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - Cross-country ski trails were packed (rolled/compacted) on Wednesday, Jan. 2. All trails have been rolled but no track set. Advise to use rock skis. No hiking, snowshoeing, bikes, and dogs are allowed on ski trails at any time. Snowshoeing and hiking is allowed on three separate trails or along the road. Please pick up a winter map or ask at the office if you need guidance. Snowmobile trails are closed. Ice fishing is very popular at the park using the boat launch to get to Sawyer Harbor. Ice shanties must be removed from State Park property by 11 p.m. daily. A unique sighting was a fisher earlier in the month. Please remember to leave wildlife alone and view from a distance. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Whitefish Dunes State Park - The park received 5 inches of snow this week which was enough to roll and pack all the ski trails. Not enough snow to set a track but the trails are skiable. Classic skiing only. Ski trails are Red, Yellow, and Green trails. No hiking, snowshoeing, biking, or dogs allowed on ski trails. Snowshoeing and hiking is allowed on the Black trail and also the new loop parking in the Pine lot and walking to Whitefish Creek. Please pick up a map or stop by the Nature Center for guidance. Leashed dogs are allowed on hiking and snowshoeing trails only. The fresh snow this week is enough to look for animal tracks. There has been several sightings of deer along the Black trail. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
High Cliff State Park - Cross-country ski trails are groomed for skate and classic cross-country skiing and were tracked on Tuesday, Jan. 1 - Jay Vosters, ranger
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest - Lapham Peak Unit - With all of the rain Monday, and then freezing temperatures, the man-made snow ski loop has several icy locations, and some other locations have corn snow on top of the icy base. Snowmaking is currently in progress to cover up the icy spots. The plan is to till Summer Stage hill to break up some of the ice. There is not enough snow to open the rest of the trail system. The first Ski league races sponsored by the Friends Of Lapham Peak occurred this week. Lights will be on Monday through Saturday until 9 p.m. - Brian Jacquette, ranger
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - Winter has arrived at Northern Unit. At least for a little while. Visitors have been out skiing, hiking, biking, and camping. On New Years Eve the forest received 4 inches of wet snow and January 2 received another inch of fluffy snow. Staff were busy plowing lots and packed the ski trails at Zillmer. Conditions are overall poor, but as of Thursday thru Saturday morning this week the Brown, Green, and Red loops are all nicely packed with some leaf/stick debris still sticking through in places. The Yellow loop is also packed but there are some bare spots toward and past the Ice Age Visitor Center. Skiers are recommended to ski in the early mornings for best trail conditions as temps are predicted to be above freezing by the afternoon. A reminder to hikers now that we have snow on the ski trails, hiking is prohibited until we no longer have snow. Some good hiking right now is found at Mauthe Lake & Long Lake Rec areas, the Ice Age Trail, and the New Fane multipurpose trail. There have been some folks enjoying fat tire biking at the New Fane & Greenbush bike trails. A reminder to all skiers and mountain bikers that trail passes are necessary at Greenbush, Zillmer, and New Fane trail systems. Passes are available annually or for just the day. Revenue from pass sales help fund trail maintenance. A few folks have come out this week for some winter camping. Winter camping is available at our Mauthe Lake campground and self-registration is done at the Rec Area entrance. If you've been waiting for winter to happen, the next few days will be prime time to be outside. - James Enigl, ranger
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Blue Mound State Park - Cross-country ski trails are in poor condition. The were packed Tuesday, Jan. 1 to about 1-2 inch base, with several wet areas. Expect conditions to deteriorate with the warming weather over the next few days. Jan. 5 Candlelight Ski has been CANCELLED. - Kevin Swenson, property supervisor
Governor Dodge State Park - Cross-country ski trails have not been groomed and are still open to foot traffic.
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Mirror Lake State Park -Cross-country ski trails have a base about 1-3 inches. No track is set on any of the trails due to lack of base.
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Cross-country ski trails do not have enough snow for grooming yet. Trails are open to hikers and bikers until we get more snow. All ATV, UTV and Snowmobile trails are closed. A reminder that Jackson County has a temperature restriction of 28 degrees. If temperatures are above the 28 degree mark we ask that you stay off the trail system to ensure it will be in good condition for the entirety of the season.- Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Lake Wissota State Park - Recent warm weather and rain has left us with patchy ice spots on the trails so use caution. We don't have much for snow left. Our boat launch area is being used by ice fishermen. No report on fishing success. Species of birds seen or heard include: ravens, black capped chickadees, nut hatches, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, and barred owls.- Nathan Fries, ranger
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Wildcat Mountain State Park - Cross-country ski trails are groomed for skate and classic cross-country skiing and were tracked on Jan. 4. - Jayne Collins, ranger