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Wildlife Management

Navarino Wildlife Area

COVID-19 Update

On Friday, May 1 and at the direction of Gov. Evers, the department reopened state parks, forests and sites within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway with special conditions. Four State Natural Areas remain closed: Parfrey's Glen, Pewits Nest, Gibraltar Rock and Dells of the Wisconsin River. All Wildlife Areas and Fisheries Areas are open. For more information, please visit the DNR's COVID-19 information webpage for the full list of conditions, including hours of operation, admission fees and more.

Navarino Wildlife Area is found in southern Shawano and northeast Waupaca counties in the townships of Navarino, Waukechon, Lessor, Hartland and Matteson. The property is approximately 15,000 acres of state owned land.

The wildlife area is comprised of sandy uplands and ridges with marshy depressions. Open fields, swamp conifer, lowland scrub, bog, bottomland hardwoods, pine plantations and aspen/oak forest make up the habitat types. The West Branch of the Shioc River and the Wolf River run through the property. This property is the most developed within the Lower Wolf River Bottomlands Natural Resources Area.

Find Navarino Wildlife Area 10 miles south of Shawano. Ample parking opportunities are located throughout the property off of the following roads: McDonald, South Townline, Lessor-Navarino, Birch and Highway 156, Highway. K, Two Creek, Wildlife and Swamp. The Navarino Nature Center [exit DNR] is located on the property and provides picnic areas, restrooms, a parking lot, a nature center, a shelter and a cabin to accommodate program participants. There are hiking, snowshoe and groomed ski trails here. A canoe launch is available at the end of River Road and a boat launch is found at Highway 156 on the Wolf River.


The Navarino Wildlife Area is managed to provide opportunities for public hunting, trapping, fishing and other outdoor recreation while protecting the qualities of the unique native communities and associated species found on the property. It is a large acreage that contains significant occurrences of several natural communities including floodplain forest, sedge meadow, emergent marsh and dry-mesic forest. Management includes maintenance of continuous, extensive floodplain communities and a hydrologic connection between the river and off-channel aquatic habitats. Flowage management with the use of periodic draw downs is used to maintain and improve the emergent marsh and open water wetland types. Bottomland hardwoods are maintained by favoring silver maple and swamp white oak while retaining other native tree and understory species. The aspen cover type is maintained through coppice cutting at rotation age to regenerate the type. Quality red oak sites are managed through shelterwood harvests that are timed to coincide with good acorn crops. Grassland and shrub-carr types are maintained and improved, through mowing and prescribed fire. Sedge meadow is maintained or restored where feasible. Share-cropping is used to maintain a mosaic of agricultural land. Populations of invasive species are controlled or eliminated by cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide treatment and/or bio-control.

The Lower Wolf River Bottomlands Natural Resources Area master plan was completed in 2012 and guides the long term management of this property. Progress toward achieving the goals of the master plan are tracked through annual monitoring reports.


The Navarino Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities.

  • Birding
  • Canoeing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Fishing - Wolf River
  • Hiking
  • Hunting - This wildlife area has a "Waterfowl closed area; gun deer hunting permitted" refuge that is 1,000 acres in size.
  • Interpretive trail
  • Nature Center [exit DNR]
  • Snowmobiling trail
  • Snowshoeing
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering
  • Wildlife viewing

Download [PDF] a map of this property and a trail map [PDF]

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

Useful links
Last revised: Wednesday May 06 2020