Draft master plan for Northwest Barrens properties available for public input


SPOONER, Wis. — (RealEstateRama) — The Northwest Barrens Properties draft master plan is available for public review and comment Saturday, Aug. 20 through Saturday, Sept. 10.

Northwest Barrens properties within the plan include Namekagon Barrens and Douglas County wildlife areas and Totogatic Wild River lands (at the lower reaches of the river), located in Burnett, Washburn, and Douglas counties.

Topics addressed in the master plan include management objectives for recreation and resource protection.

The draft plan describes proposed land management strategies, recreational opportunities, and other public use proposal for the properties. Highlights of proposed management include:

  • maintenance and enhancement of oak/pine barrens, their associated wetlands; and the wildlife species that are dependent on them;
  • protection of the Totogatic Wild River for public enjoyment;
  • continued emphasis on traditional outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, bird dog trialing, wildlife viewing and nature enjoyment;
  • participating in efforts to have a regional auto tour;
  • maintenance and enhancement of the Namekagon Barrens multi-use area; and
  • enhancing a regional ecotourism corridor through opportunities in wildlife and landscape viewing, hunting and gathering wild edibles (especially blueberries).

An open house will be held Tuesday, Aug. 30 from 5-7 p.m. in the Chicog Town Hall, located 10 miles west of Minong on HWY 77. Attendees will have the opportunity to review property maps, review copies of the draft Master Plan, discuss the plan with department staff, and submit comments.

For those unable to attend the open house, public input will be accepted Saturday, Aug. 20 through Saturday, Sept. 10, and can be submitted online through a comment form found on the Department of Natural Resources’ master planning page – dnr.wi.gov, keyword “master planning,” then select Northwest Barrens. Comments may also be sent to Beth Kienbaum, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 101 S. Webster Street – LF/6 Madison WI 53707 or via email atbeth.kienbaum (at) wisconsin (dot) gov.

Background materials can also be found at the following locations:

  • Spooner DNR Service Center,
  • Superior DNR Service Center,
  • Brule DNR office, Minong Ranger Station,
  • Chicog Town Hall, and
  • public libraries in Solon Springs, Minong, Superior and Spooner.

Namekagon Barrens and Douglas County wildlife areas and the Totogatic Wild River Area are located within the Northwest Sands Ecological Landscape. Approximately 13,000 acres of oak/pine barrens habitat support abundant deer, wild turkey, bear and other wildlife for hunting, and fishing opportunities within the St. Croix and Namekagon River watersheds. This unique pine/oak barrens habitat supports diverse plants and animals, including many rare bird species.

These properties are an important recreational resource and provide economic benefit to the region and are a popular destination for hunting, fishing, gathering, bird dog trialing and bird watching. Canoeing, kayaking and fishing the Totogatic River, one of only five designated Wild Rivers in Wisconsin, provides a rare opportunity to enjoy a river in its natural and free-flowing condition.

The draft master plan, including maps, a plan overview and background materials, can be found online. Visit dnr.wi.gov, search keyword “master planning” and select “Northwest Barrens properties” to learn more.

Contact(s): Pete Engman, DNR area wildlife supervisor, 715-463-2896; Beth Kienbaum, DNR planner, 608-266-3219


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