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Contact information
Property superintendent
Governor Knowles State Forest
325 State Road 70
Grantsburg, WI 54840

Wisconsin State Parks and ForestsGovernor Knowles State Forest

Governor Knowles campsite in the fall

Reserve campsites at Governor Knowles State Forest.

Established in 1970 as the St. Croix River State Forest, the forest was re-designated the Governor Knowles State Forest in 1981 to recognize former Governor Warren P. Knowles for his administration’s progress in conservation. Four thousand acres that were donated by the Northern States Power Company in 1971 formed the nucleus of the state forest in those early years.

Today, the state forest is 55 miles long and up to two miles wide, and encompasses 32,500 acres, acting as an extended resource protection zone for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. A designated wilderness zone buffers the Riverway throughout the length of the state forest. Six designated state natural areas within the forest preserve unique biotic communities.

Although a primary state forest objective is to preserve and protect the St. Croix River and its valley, forest management provides multiple benefits, including scenic beauty, water quality protection, wildlife habitat, forest production and recreation.

Property info

Activities and resources

A variety of activities are provided such as biking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, snowmobiling and nine primitive campsites. The primary draws to the property are hunting, fishing and the equestrian trails and campground.

In total, Governor Knowles provides:


A vehicle admission sticker is required for all family campgrounds. A trail pass is required for biking and skiing trails. Hunting and fishing licenses apply. Camping fees are updated annually.

Certain groups and individuals may be eligible for waivers on vehicle admission, trail pass or camping fees.

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Management and business

Annual Property Implementation Plans

Implementation plans are posted every year in March and contain:

  • major planned and scheduled forest and habitat management treatments;
  • recreation and infrastructure development projects; and
  • other property management actions.

Planning documents

Master plan

Completed in September of 2012, the master plan reflects years of planning and public input. The final plan, maps, variances and amendments are included in the plan, as well as documents used during the plan's development.

Public involvement

Public involvement in state forest management, operations and monitoring is part of sustainable forestry. We seek public involvement because we believe people, communities, organizations and businesses realize the potential public benefits of state forests and are willing to work to further the goals of sustainable forestry.

Timber sale program

The state forests are managed sustainably for multiple uses. Active timber management is a part of that overall effort on many parts of each forest. Timber sales are advertised for sale typically from one to three times annually, depending on the size of the forest.

Learn more about Governor Knowles State Forest timber sales.

Last revised: Friday March 20 2020