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Wildlife Management

White River 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.

White River Wildlife Area

White River Wildlife Area is a 1,120-acre property located in northwest Ashland County, just two and a half miles south of the city of Ashland. It was established in 1946 to protect winter deer habitat. It is still used to some extent today by wintering deer, however the once dense balsam fir and young white pine which lined the many steep and deep gullies leading to the White River has since matured and/or has been heavily browsed and winter habitat values have significantly decreased.

The White River Wildlife Area is entirely wooded and features numerous habitats important to a full range of wildlife species due to the varying topography and forest successional stages. From furbearers and waterfowl to grouse, deer, bear and raptors, the property offers opportunities for all wildlife enthusiasts to see and enjoy their favorite species.

In addition, approximately three miles of the White River flows through the northern part of the wildlife area. The White is an important tributary to the Bad River in Ashland County and has an good warm water fishery, with an annual anadramous run of steelhead from Lake Superior. However, the wildlife area does not provide good fishing opportunities, due to limited access to the river and difficult terrain.


Located in northwest Ashland County, there are no developed parking lots on the White River Wildlife Area. South of Ashland on the west side of Highway 13, there is a small parking area on the south side of the White River that is often used for canoe takeout for people floating the River from the west. This parking area can also provide canoe access into the Wildlife Area, however there is no take out location on the property, so a return trip to the parking area is necessary. To drive to a location providing walk-in trail access to the Wildlife Area, drive south from the White River on Highway 13 1.1 miles to Tapani Road. On Tapani Road, go east 0.4 miles to Park Road. Go north from Park Road 0.7 miles to a private driveway heading east. Park along Park Road somewhere near this point. From the driveway, either walk north along the Park Road snowmobile trail 0.4 miles to the White River Fishery Area and 1.0 mile to the Wildlife Area, or walk east along the private driveway and trail, which provides easement access to the Fishery Area and Wildlife Area 0.7 miles and 0.8 miles from Park Road, respectively. Access to the portions of the Wildlife Area on the north side of the White River is provided by Hegstrom Road, which intersects Highway 13 about 0.2 miles north of the White River. From Highway 13, travel 0.5 miles east to the Wildlife Area. There is no parking area along Hegstrom Road and road conditions vary seasonally, so walk-in access from Highway 13 is advised.


Current timber management strategies continue to attempt to maintain a strong conifer component mixed with mid to late successional hardwoods on the property, especially in and near areas of steep topography. On the flatter upland areas, maintenance of varying age classes of aspen habitat is the major emphasis, along with maintenance of naturally established red pine stands.

White River Property Group master plan (2013) [PDF]


The White River Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities.

  • Birding
  • Cross country skiing (no designated trail)
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (no designated trail)
  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering
  • Wildlife viewing

Download [PDF 144KB] a map of this property.

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

Useful links
Last revised: Wednesday May 06 2020