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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 26, 2017

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2017 Fall Festivals and Events at Wisconsin State Park System Properties

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, DNR office of Communications, 608-267-7517

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to add an event Oct. 8 at Pattison State Park, Oct. 20 at Governor Nelson State Park, Oct. 21 at Copper Falls State Park and Nov. 4 at Kettle Moraine South.]

MADISON - From fall color hikes, runs and bicycle rides, to releasing small sturgeon, pumpkin carving and Halloween activities, visitors to Wisconsin State Park System properties have multiple opportunities to enjoy fall in Wisconsin. More than 20 fall festivals and events are planned at properties over the next month.

Fall color festivals begin this weekend at Wisconsin State Park System properties. Copper Falls will be holding
Fall color festivals begin this weekend at Wisconsin State Park System properties. Copper Falls will be holding "Art in the Park" with hikes on the parks Doughbou's Waterfall Trail.
Photo Credit: DNR

"Fall is one of the best seasons of the year to get out and enjoy our state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas," said Wisconsin State Parks Director Ben Bergey. "The combination of the heavily forested areas and the great vistas make our parks and forests key destinations for fall color viewing. And thanks to our many friends groups and partnerships with other organizations, our properties are able to offer a wide variety of fall activities."

Festival events kick off Sept. 30 with fall color bike rides at the John Muir Trails in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, SturgeonFest at Milwaukee's Lakeshore State Park--where people have an opportunity to release a live young sturgeon--and Fall Color Weekend at Governor Thompson State Park. Events then run each weekend through the end of October. For a complete list of events, search the Department of Natural Resources website,, for keywords "Get Outdoors." To find fall festival events, click on the checkbox for "festivals" under the "Type" button.

Hayrides are a popular feature at the MacKenzie Fall Festival.
Hayrides are a popular feature at the MacKenzie Fall Festival.
Photo Credit: DNR



Get Your Perfect Selfie in Wisconsin State Parks

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 608-267-7517

Travel Wisconsin and Wisconsin State Parks Install Selfie Stands in 10 Parks

MADISON -- Looking for a beautiful backdrop to capture that special memory of you and your group of friends and family? Getting the best shot at Wisconsin's most scenic locations just got easier. In time for the fall color season, Travel Wisconsin and Wisconsin State Parks teamed up to install selfie stands in 10 state parks.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to create an experience that gives people an easy way to capture a lifetime of memories and the beauty of our state parks," Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett.

Selfie Stand at Kohler-Andrae State Park
Selfie Stand at Kohler-Andrae State Park
Photo Credit: Wisconsin Department of Tourism

The stands are designed with smartphones in mind with platforms ready to hold any size or style of mobile device, allowing visitors to safely snap that coveted group photo in front of one of the park's most popular views. The custom built signs instruct users how to set their smartphones on a shelf, which swivels from left to right 180 degrees and tilts upward 90 degrees, allowing users to create customizable angles to capture the best image.

The selfie stands are designed to hold smart phones.
The selfie stands are designed to hold smart phones.
Photo Credit: Wisconsin Department of Tourism

"These selfie stands are a great addition to some of Wisconsin's most scenic state parks and we are very grateful to the Department of Tourism for providing another amenity for our park visitors," said Wisconsin State Park System Director Ben Bergey. "Fall is one of the best times of year to visit state parks and we encourage our visitors to take advantage of these stands and share their experiences enjoying Wisconsin's autumn scenery with friends, family and other fans of the Wisconsin State Park System."

Selfie stands can be found in the following list, which includes the location and a brief description of the view that will be sure to earn lots of likes. Stands in Wyalusing and Pattison State Parks are wheelchair accessible. Visitors are encouraged to share their photo using #ScenicWisconsin or upload on See how visitors are already using the selfie stands here.

About Travel Wisconsin
Travelers looking for year-round Wisconsin getaway ideas, travel planning, events and free guides can discover their own fun at,, and Instagram at TravelWisconsin.

About Wisconsin State Parks
Find out more about Wisconsin State Park System by searching the DNR website,, for keyword "Parks" and "Find a Park" to get a list of parks, forests, trails and recreation areas and their locations.



October open houses at egg collection facilities fun for the whole family

Contact(s): Nicole Boyea (920-388-1025 for Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility in KewauneeJeff Zinuticz (414) 750-8382 for Root River Steelhead Facility in Racine

MADISON - The public can get a close up look at how Wisconsin fisheries crews give nature a helping hand to keep fishing great on Lake Michigan when state egg collecting facilities in Kewaunee and Racine hold open houses in October.

See Lake Michigan trout and salmon up close during the Besadny and Root River hatchery open houses.
See Lake Michigan trout and salmon up close during the Besadny and Root River hatchery open houses.
Photo Credit: DNR

The events give fish enthusiasts of all ages a chance to see Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources crews collecting eggs from fish to produce the next generation of fish to be raised at state hatcheries and stocked back into the "big pond." The open houses also offer fun, hands-on learning for fishing skills like fly tying, knot tying and casting, all in beautiful settings along two major tributaries to Lake Michigan.



Celebrate National Public Lands day Sept. 30 with help from a number of online tools

Contact(s): Tim Lizotte, public lands specialist, (262)-364-7581

MADISON - Wisconsin is home to many excellent public lands, and the Department of Natural Resources provides programs and resources to find a new favorite spot to enjoy for National Public Lands Day Sept. 30.

Public Access Lands Atlas

Those in search of public hunting and trapping grounds this fall are reminded to check out the department's Public Access Lands atlas. The atlas includes all DNR properties, as well as nearly all federal and county-owned lands. Hunters should contact the property managing agency if they are unsure if hunting is allowed on a given property.

You can download and print these maps free of charge from your home computer as well as create your own interactive custom maps. For more information, visit and search keyword "atlas."

Crex Meadows, Burnett County, supports 29 flowages and 30,000+ acres of some of the best deer, bear, waterfowl and small game hunting in the state.
Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area, Burnett County, supports 29 flowages and 30,000+ acres of some of the best deer, bear, waterfowl and small game hunting in the state.
Photo Credit: DNR

Voluntary Public Access - Habitat Incentive Program

The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, provides financial incentives to private landowners who open their property to year-round wildlife-dependent recreation as well improve wildlife habitat.

Currently, 227 VPA properties and approximately 31,000 acres are available for public use in Wisconsin this fall through the program. These lands are open to public hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife observation. All VPA lands have property maps along with being displayed on interactive maps on the VPA webpage or through the PAL application. Search keyword "VPA" to learn more.

VPA lands are clearly posted with a 'Private Lands leased for Public Access' sign. Property access is limited to foot traffic only and only portable, temporary blinds and stands can be used. Feedback about user experience is essential to the continued success of this program - users are encouraged to complete an evaluation survey found at each VPA property, or use the QR code found on the sign posting to access the online version of the survey. For a code of conduct (available in three languages), maps and additional information, search keyword "VPA."

Managed Forest and Forest Crop Law Programs

Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law are landowner-incentive programs that incorporate sustainable forest practices, like timber harvest and wildlife management, while improving public access to these lands.

Landowners who enroll may choose an "open" or "closed" designation for public recreation. Lands open to public recreation are available only for hunting, fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and sight-seeing. Landowners and hunters who are interested in learning more about these programs are encouraged to contact their local DNR forester - search keywords "forest landowner," then click "find professional help" and use the Forestry Assistance Locator to find a DNR forester who has responsibility for that area of Wisconsin.

A mapping tool shows the approximate location of all MFL-Open and FCL lands in Wisconsin. Here, landowner info, acreage and enrollment information is also available. To access the mapping tool, search keywords "MFL open land." For more general information regarding these programs, search keywords "managed forest law" and "forest crop law" for a FAQ and other helpful information.

Wisconsin's State Parks

State parks provide a range of recreational opportunities. During the fall gun and archery hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of most State Parks during the open season from Nov. 15 - Dec. 15., except that hunting with legal archery methods is allowed through the Sunday nearest Jan. 6. It is important to remember that not all state parks are open to hunting - search keywords "hunting state parks" for more information.

To find a park near you, search keywords "parks."


The Fields and Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool gives hunters an interactive way to locate young aspen and alder habitat to find woodcock and ruffed grouse hunting areas, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and dove fields found on public hunting lands throughout Wisconsin.

Features available within the program help hunters locate DNR public parking areas, overlay township descriptions, and provide access to maps and aerial photos of prospective hunting areas. Users can also print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and estimate acreage and walking distance.

The mapping application is compatible with all major desktop and mobile web browsers (internet access is required). Mobile users can use FFLIGHT on-the-go to find habitat suitable for the species they wish to pursue. To learn more, search keyword "FFLIGHT."

How else can you connect with the department?

To celebrate National Public Lands Day, the department's Facebook page has highlighted a public property each day throughout the month of September. Be sure to check out each featured property and find a new place to enjoy the outdoors.

The department uses current technology to reach users of all ages and backgrounds and provide for convenience, whether they are already afield or looking for new places to explore. Be sure to visit DNR's Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn pages to learn more and connect with DNR staff.



Be aware of elk on the landscape near Clam Lake and Jackson County

Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist, 608-261-7589

MADISON - State wildlife officials are reminding the public, and especially hunters, to be aware of elk on the landscape in central and far northern Wisconsin as they enjoy the fall season.

Elk were first reintroduced near Clam Lake in 1995. The Clam Lake elk range includes portions of southeast Bayfield, southwest Ashland, eastern Sawyer, northeast Rusk, and western Price counties. Although elk use private lands in these areas, they are often found on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, county and industrial forest lands, and the Flambeau River State Forest. Most of the approximately 190 elk live near the towns of Clam Lake, Butternut, Winter, Draper, Tony, Shanagolden and Glidden.

A bull elk taking a "selfie" near Clam Lake
A bull elk taking a "selfie" near Clam Lake
Photo Credit: DNR

The Black River elk range is located in Jackson County. While the majority of the herd resides in the Black River State Forest to the southeast of Black River Falls, a few of the approximately 60 animals in the herd have wandered into surrounding counties since their reintroduction in 2015.

"After a very active rut in 2016, we believe we've had an excellent calving season with good survivorship of in both elk ranges," said Kevin Wallenfang, Department of Natural Resources deer and elk ecologist. "As a result, both elk ranges hold a significant number of calves at 150 to 200 pounds, or about the size of an adult white-tailed deer. Please be careful while hunting in the elk range, not only while afield, but also while you drive to your hunting spots."

Deer hunters in these areas are asked to use caution and are reminded that it is currently illegal to shoot an elk in Wisconsin. A helpful graphic is available for those looking for more information regarding the difference between an elk and a white-tailed deer in the field.

"More and more people are becoming aware and excited about our elk herds in the state, and that excitement will grow as the herds grow," Wallenfang says. "We need everyone to take ownership in them so that both herds continue to increase and provide recreational opportunities in the form of viewing and, eventually, a hunt."

To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, visit and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "elk in Wisconsin" and "wildlife projects" distribution lists.

For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "elk."



Tree seedlings and shrubs can be ordered from DNR Reforestation Program starting October 2

Contact(s): Jeremiah Auer, DNR forester, 715-459-1999, or Reforestation Program staff at the Griffith State Nursery in Wisconsin Rapids, 715-424-3700 or Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel, 608-375-4123

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. - The Department of Natural Resources Reforestation Program will begin its annual tree seedling and shrub sales starting October 2. The orders will be distributed in April and early May and can be picked up at the state nurseries located in Boscobel, Hayward, or Wisconsin Rapids, or delivered to a central location designated by the local DNR forester.

Tree and shrub seedlings are available to all Wisconsin landowners interested in planting for conservation purposes such as forest products, wildlife habitat and erosion control. Landowners can get information on seedling availability, species information, tips on how to prepare a site for tree planting and ordering instructions at, keyword "tree planting." There is a minimum order of 1,000 tree seedlings, 500 wildlife shrubs or a mixed packet of 300 seedlings, usually good for landowners new to planting or those with small acreages.

Spruce seedlings are one of the evergreen species available through state nurseries.
Spruce seedlings are one of the evergreen species available through state nurseries.
Photo Credit: DNR

"Every year, Wisconsin private landowners and public land managers plant millions of tree seedlings to create, enhance and restore our forested lands," said Joe Vande Hey, DNR Reforestation Program supervisor for the Division of Forestry. "The Reforestation Program offers affordable, high-quality seedlings to meet that need."

The local DNR office is also a great source of information for landowners on how to plan their tree planting, and DNR foresters are available throughout the state to visit landowner properties, answer questions and assist landowners to get the maximum benefit from their tree planting activities. Contact information can be found at, keyword "forestry assistance locator."

"Landowners contemplating tree planting projects should contact their local DNR forester, private consulting forester, or nursery staff for advice on species selection, site preparation, planting methods, cost-sharing programs, tree planter rentals, and other considerations in establishing a successful forest tree planting," Vande Hey said. "For those who want to do more research before visiting a forester, there is an online planting plan tool available at, by searching for "tree planting plan."

Seedlings are not available for planting until spring, but even so, Vande Hey stressed it is important to order now because many species sell out quickly.

"The seedlings grown at the state nurseries are native species from seed adapted to growing in Wisconsin," Vande Hey said. "Planting these Wisconsin-grown trees and shrubs is a great way for landowners to get to know their own properties better and understand the greater role tree planting has in the local environment."

Hardwood tree species available from state nurseries include native oak (bur, red, swamp white and white), maples (red, silver and sugar), shagbark hickory, black cherry, butternut, black walnut, river birch, aspen and hackberry. Conifer tree species available include white spruce, black spruce, white pine, tamarack, red pine, jack pine, hemlock and white cedar. Wildlife shrubs available include American plum, redosier and silky dogwood, hazelnut, juneberry and choke cherry. A current inventory of which species are available is maintained on the DNR website, 


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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