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April 1, 2014

Wildlife and natural areas topic of April 16 open house

SPOONER, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity to contribute ideas and discuss how three properties in Burnett County should be managed for recreation and resource protection, at an upcoming open house meeting.

The Department of Natural Resources is developing a new master plan for the Glacial Lake Grantsburg properties of Crex Meadows, Fish Lake and Amsterdam Sloughs state wildlife areas, in the Northwest Sands Ecological Landscape. The properties contain a rich mosaic of nearly 48,000 acres of oak/pine barrens, wetlands, forests and streams within the St. Croix River watershed.

The area was once covered by a vast glacial lake created during the last advance of the Wisconsin glacier, as it blocked the St. Croix River. This natural ice dam gave the area its name, and when the dam melted, a series of shallow lakes and extensive marshes remained.

These properties are among the most popular and frequently visited wildlife areas in the state, known for their grand scale of wetlands and globally rare oak/pine barrens habitat. Visitors come for abundant hunting, trapping, gathering, wildlife watching and educational opportunities; many of which are supported in part by the Friends of Crex. The properties are:

"The Glacial Lake Grantsburg properties provide important recreational and economic benefits to the region," said Mike Zeckmeister, DNR District Wildlife Manager overseeing the planning effort.

The Glacial Lake Grantsburg properties are also a vital contributor to the preservation of oak/pine barrens, a rare and globally imperiled natural community. The barrens extend from northern Polk County to southern Bayfield County and cover 1,900 square miles. The property's important natural communities include: wild rice beds amidst vast emergent marshes, northern hardwood swamps, northern dry-mesic forests, and oak and pine barrens.

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area is a recognized Wisconsin Important Bird Area (exit DNR) that draws significant numbers of visitors to view large populations of wetland, barrens and grassland species, including thousands of migratory waterfowl, shorebirds and sandhill cranes.

The open house will be held on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Crex Meadows Wildlife Education & Visitor Center, (102 East Crex Ave) located approximately one mile north of Grantsburg, Wisconsin.

Background information about the properties, maps, and a preliminary vision and goals document are available online. Visit and search "master planning." Below the heading "Master Plans in Progress," open "Glacial Lake Grantsburg Properties." These materials are also available to the public at the Spooner DNR Service Center at 810 W. Maple Street, and the Crex Meadows Wildlife Education & Visitor Center at 102 East Crex Ave, north of Grantsburg.

Public input is welcomed throughout the master planning process, and two formal 30-day comment periods are provided -one following the open house meeting on April 16 and a second for review of the draft master plan sometime during the coming winter.

Comments may be provided at the April 16 public meeting, submitted by April 30 through an online survey available on the on the "Glacial Lake Grantsburg Properties page of the DNR website or mailed to:

Beth Kienbaum at Wisconsin DNR - LF/6, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921 or

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Kienbaum, 608-266-3219 or Michael Zeckmeister, 715-635-4090

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 01, 2014

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