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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published June 3, 2014

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Admission free to more than 100 state parks, forests and trails on June 7-8

MADISON - Admission to Wisconsin's more than 100 state parks, forests and trails is free on June 7-8 and special events are planned at many of them to showcase their scenery, recreation and history.

"This is an invitation to folks who haven't been to state parks and forests in recent years to see what they're all about," says Department of Natural Resources Parks Director Dan Schuller. "Free Fun Weekend is also a great opportunity to try the dozens of trails that normally require a trail pass."

Wisconsin's Free Fun Weekend is June 7 and 8, with free fishing, free admission to state parks and forests, free use of state-owned trails, and free ATV and UTV riding on public trails open to such use.

This year marks the first time that vehicle admission fees to Wisconsin State Park System properties are waived for both days of the weekend. Previously, the state park system's longstanding free open house was only the first Sunday in June.

People who camp at state parks will still pay for their campsites and other events or programs on those two days may require a fee as well.

Many of the state parks and their friends groups are offering special programming during Free Fun Weekend. Activities include everything from free fishing clinics to kayak tours, to nature walks, to the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the historic Hellestad House at Hartman Creek State Park and an art and craft fair at Willow River State Park.

Some of the state trails are offering special events as well, with the Red Cedar Trail serving up a variety of events on June 7, including free fishing, with tackle and instruction provided, a quick free tune-up and safety check for bicycles, free cookies and lemonade, live eagles and other birds of prey, and more. Check the Get Outdoors! Nature Programs and Events Calendar for listings.

State trails are free June 7-8 too

As in past years, people can enjoy free access to state-owned and operated trails that normally require a trail pass for those 16 or older who want to bike, in-line skate or horseback ride. Find them by using DNR's "find a park, forest, recreation area or trail" tool.

Many of the trails owned by the state are operated by counties. Those trails are free as well on June 7 and 8, Schuller says. "Pick an area of the state where you want to explore and base out of there for a great weekend."

While all of the trails feature beautiful scenery and level, easy rides, Schuller highlights two new trails to explore. The Stower Seven Lakes State Trail, a 14-mile trail that begins in Amery, travels through the communities of Deronda, Wanderoos and Nye and ends near Dresser. It passes through maple and oak forests, wetlands, prairies and farmlands, and many picturesque lakes.

The other trail is the Newton Blackmour State Trail in Outagamie County; 9 miles of the trail are now open -- the part between Black Creek and Seymour. The 14-mile segment from New London to Black Creek is closed to all use while it is under development. The trail allows biking and horseback riding and walking, and in the winter, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Schuller, 608-266-2185; Paul Holtan, 608-267-7517



Geocaching series now offered in nearly 50 Wisconsin State Parks

MADISON - The growing popularity of geocaching - an outdoor recreational activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System receiver or mobile device to look for hidden containers called geocaches -- has led to the placement of new "official" caches at nearly 50 Wisconsin state park properties.

The Wisconsin State Park Geocaches Series is a joint project by the Wisconsin Geocaching Association and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to encourage outdoor activity, exploration and enjoyment of state park properties in all parts of Wisconsin, according to Sherry Wise, chief naturalist for the Wisconsin State Parks program.

"Over the last 12 years, geocaching has become a great way to explore the outdoors using technology," Wise said. "Families enjoy the time being together and the thrill of using GPS technology adds to the excitement."

Currently, there are 2 million geocaches and more than 6 million geocachers worldwide, according to Chris Walker, WGA president.

"With little startup cost, geocaching has become the perfect mix of technology and old school exploration," Walker said. "You can get started with a smartphone or handheld GPS device."

The Wisconsin State Park Geocaches Series consists of one geocache in each of 47 state parks. The state park geocaches are organized by biomes, which are regions typified by specific plant and animal communities and climate patterns.

All geocaches placed on state property must be approved by the manager of that property through an application process.

For the Wisconsin State Park Geocaches Series, the Wisconsin Geocaching Association worked with the property managers or naturalists to select locations for the geocaches that highlight unique or important natural features of the property.

To participate in the Wisconsin State Park Geocaches Series, people need to join the Wisconsin Geocaching Association, which Walker emphasizes, is free and can be done online through the association website.

Once a member, people can visit the WGA website and click on the link for Wisconsin State Park series. From there participants find a code they use with their GPS device to find coordinates for the geocache along with some additional hints for finding the cache.

People can then visit the park and use their GPS device to guide them to the coordinates and the hints to try and find the hidden cache.

Once they find it, they can add their name to a log stored inside the cache and return it to its hiding spot.

WGA has produced a number of posters for the parks that park managers will post in appropriate locations to alert people that a geocache can be found within the park.

"We hope this is yet another activity that will not only bring visitors to our state park properties, but will get them out to explore areas of the park that they otherwise may never see," Wise said.

For more information visit the Wisconsin Geocaching Association website at or search the DNR website for keywords "geocache" and "parks."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sherry Wise, DNR, 715-365-8966 or Chris Walker, WGA President, 920-858-5941 or Paul Holtan, DNR, 67-7517



Stream bank protection program gives landowners opportunity to leave conservation legacy for future generations

MADISON - Landowners with stream-front property may be eligible for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Stream Bank Protection program. The program will provide for public fishing access to Wisconsin's highest quality streams and foster habitat projects to improve fish habitat and water quality.

"The Wisconsin Council of Trout Unlimited is pleased to see the department's stream bank protection program come online," said Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Council Chair Henry Koltz. "We firmly believe that this program will serve to increase the already significant positive impact that recreational trout angling has on Wisconsin's economy."

Through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program Stream Bank Protection program, the department purchases stream-bank easements from willing landowners. Each easement will convey the right of public access and the right to manage the stream bank within a 66-foot corridor along the stream. Easements have been used by the department for decades in order to secure angler access and have been very popular with both landowners and anglers.

The program, funded by the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program, has been the primary conservation funding mechanism in the state since 1990. The department will work closely with a wide range of conservation groups throughout Wisconsin to assist in its efforts.

"A local team approach involving partnerships with Trout Unlimited, conservation clubs, land trusts, local landowner advocates and county land conservation staff will be key to the success of the program as we work to reach our program goals," said Paul Cunningham, DNR fisheries ecologist.

Land values for each stream parcel are calculated by real estate appraisers and the easement rights are perpetual. Hunting and trapping rights are not included within stream bank easements and will remain under landowner control. For application materials and more information about the stream bank protection program, search the DNR website for keyword "streambank."

Interested landowners are encouraged to contact their local fisheries biologist for more information. For a list of fisheries biologists across the state [PDF] able to assist stream-front landowners with stream bank easements .

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Cunningham, DNR fisheries ecologist, 608-267-7502 or Doug Haag, DNR real estate specialist, 608-266-2136



DNR offers guide for proper construction and demolition waste disposal

MADISON - Contractors, consultants and construction firms in the business of building and demolition are reminded to check out free information available on-line from the Department of Natural Resources to help safely manage hazardous waste and other materials.

"Planning Your Demolition or Renovation Project" is a simple, step-by-step checklist from the DNR for identifying and evaluating hazardous waste, recyclables and other waste during construction and remodeling work.

The publication is available for free in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF] by searching the DNR website for keyword "construction," and looking under the tab for "Waste and Debris."

"To avoid project delays and account for any necessary pre-demolition or renovation activities, Wisconsin builders and re-developers should consult this checklist before developing a project calendar," said Amy Walden, DNR Waste Management Program specialist.

Walden added that, prior to demolition, workers should conduct a walkthrough to identify and remove any containers of hazardous material - e.g., oil-based paints, herbicides, paint thinner, oil - from the site. These containers should be separated for proper disposal to an off-site facility. The DNR has a pilot project [PDF] for managing contractor-generated hazardous waste.

"We're providing these resources to help building owners, contractors and other trade professionals make the decisions necessary to keep their workers safe and their projects successful," said Walden.

An asbestos inspection and notification to the DNR are also required, said Walden, before starting a non-residential demolition project and, in some cases, for renovation projects.

Contractors and companies that work with structures should be familiar with the potential hazardous waste in their workplace, such as asbestos and lead paint. Information on training and certification for asbestos and lead is available through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

For project-specific questions, contact your local DNR Waste Program staff person listed under "Staff contacts" on the waste information pages of the DNR website.

More information on proper disposal for construction and demolition project materials - including how to collect and recycle debris - is available by searching the DNR website for keyword "construction."

You can also contact WasteCap Resource Solutions (exit DNR) for training and resource information regarding construction and demolition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Walden, 608-266-0272



Wisconsin hosts national dragonfly experts

LADYSMITH, Wis. - The Dragonfly Society of the Americas along with the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society will co-host their annual business meetings on June 13-15 in Wisconsin's Northwoods, welcoming nature enthusiasts from all over to learn more about dragonflies and connect with many of the best dragonfly experts in North America.

"We're excited to co-host our yearly meeting in collaboration with the National Dragonfly Society," said Bob DuBois a research scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the meeting coordinator. "This presents a special opportunity for devoted supporters and dragonfly beginners to connect with some of the most knowledgeable specialists in the field as well as get truly dialed into the society we have here in Wisconsin."

The weeklong event starts on June 11 and will include pre- and post-meeting field trips to local habitats, showcasing Wisconsin's remarkable clubtail rivers. Pre-meeting trips on June 11 and 12 will host participants at the Beaver Creek Nature Center on the Eau Claire River to observe area species including the Sioux snaketail. Following the main board meeting in Ladysmith, dragonfly enthusiasts will have the opportunity to travel to the Kemp Natural Resource Station southeast of Minocqua on June 16-18.

In addition to the meetings, a banquet, silent auction and plenty of relaxed opportunities to meet others and enjoy the camaraderie of dragonfly advocates will be available to attendees.

The Dragonfly Society of the Americas was originally organized in 1988 and works to encourage the study, conservation and enjoyment of the dragonfly species through collaboration and cooperation among involved groups, experts and enthusiasts. In 2002, the group became a nonprofit and continues to serve members throughout all of the Americas, including Central and South America.

To learn more about the 2014 Dragonfly Society of the Americas and Wisconsin Dragonfly Society Annual meeting, please visit (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob DuBois, DNR Research Scientist and co-coordinator 715-392-6976 or Ken Tennessen at



Book illustrating Wisconsin's rich conservation history now available for free via DNR website

MADISON - "The Gamekeepers: Wisconsin Wildlife Conservation from WCD to CWD" is now available for download free of charge on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' website.

The book was originally published by the department cooperatively with the Bureaus of Science Services and Wildlife in 2013 and will now be available in digital format.

"The Gamekeepers" documents the rich history of wildlife conservation in Wisconsin and how game management strategies have evolved since 1832. The creation of the department is discussed as well as the colorful history of many wildlife professionals involved in Wisconsin's wildlife conservation from 1832 to 2008.

Those interested in receiving a free digital copy of the book can search the DNR website for "gamekeepers." For those interested in a physical copy, a limited number will be made available to the public for purchase on the same site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mia Van Horn, DNR customer service specialist, 608-266-5230



Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine June issue has some hot topics

MADISON - In fact, the latest issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine is smoking! Our cover story, "Where there's smoke . . ." recalls lessons learned on the one-year anniversary of the Germann Road Fire. A quick and effective response saved structures and lives. "Back in the Day" plays off the fire theme, looking at technologies used to fight forest fires in Wisconsin. "A soaring new career" pays tribute to the important work DNR pilots do including fire response from the sky.

June 2014 WNR magazine

Natural Resources Board Chairman Preston Cole is profiled this issue and brings some hot new ideas to how we manage natural resources, with a focus on increasing diversity, transparency and customer service.

With warmer weather, we remind readers in "The fawn, the newborn and the warden" and "Focus on Wildlife" to take a photos but then leave baby wildlife alone.

June is Invasive Species Awareness Month and we highlight two hot new invaders. The New Zealand mudsnail is the focus of "Invasive snails find Wisconsin ready to defend" and giant hogweed is battled in "Slaying the Godzilla weed."

Education and entertainment come together and get young and old alike fired up in "Taking a LEEP: Innovative lake education program is making sure no child is left on shore," "No boat? No problem: Discover the joys of fishing from a riverbank" and "Nature's Superheroes: Animals amaze us with their adaptations."

"Wisconsin Traveler" peeks inside the Flyways Waterfowl Museum while "Wisconsin, Naturally" discovers what's growing at Jackson Harbor Ridges SNA.

On the heels of "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," we feature a hot trend in physical education and hunting - archery -in our insert "Take aim with archery." Whether you're a beginning archer or are interested in helping others develop their skills, this supplement explains how kids and adults alike can get started in archery, from school and youth programs to hunter safety education courses and more. Includes a 40-cm archery target for you to pull out and test your abilities!

WNR magazine also recently launched an e-newsletter "Previews and Reviews" to keep our readers informed about upcoming stories and past articles. Sign up to receive the e-newsletter and other email updates through the DNR website. (Under the Publications box, select Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine).

Not a subscriber? Here's what you are missing:

All included for the low price of $8.97 for a 1-year subscription.

How can you go wrong?

Already a subscriber? Remember to consider Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift that gives all year. Share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends, customers and professional colleagues.

Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke at (608) 261-8446.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 03, 2014

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