Wisconsin Lakes Protected

Park Falls & Rhinelander, WI–The United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today the protection of two adjacent properties and three wild lakes within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. Totaling 640 acres, the properties will provide hikers traveling along the North Country National Scenic Trail a location for primitive camping and fishing. Happles and Silver, the two larger glacial lakes, are unusually deep and clear, reaching depths in excess of fifty feet.

The protection of these properties has been a priority of the Forest Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). According to a recent Wisconsin DNR report, the average number of dwellings on privately owned lakes has more than doubled in the last 30 years. Estimates show that northern Wisconsin’s lakes will be fully developed by 2015 if current trends continue.

“This partnership is especially important because the properties contain three wild lakes in their entirety,” adds Lynn Roberts, Forest Supervisor. “We are excited to provide this land for recreation while ensuring that these lakes remain undeveloped.”

Working with two private landowners, TPL acquired the properties last fall using its Northwoods Land Protection Fund, a capital revolving fund established to support high-priority conservation projects. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest purchased the properties through a $1.5 million appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“Pristine lakes like these are being lost at a considerable rate,” notes Shaun Hamilton, TPL’s Northwoods Initiative Director. “Thanks to the leadership of Senator Kohl, Senator Feingold and Representative Obey, we were able to move fast enough to protect these wild lakes.”

Questions about the property can be directed to the Forest Service’s Washburn District Ranger at (715) 373-2667. Established in the early 1930s as individual national forests and combined in the 1990s, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest encompasses about 1.5 million acres in northern Wisconsin. Learn more about the Forest at www.fs.fed.us/r9/cnnf.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. In Wisconsin, TPL has protected 11,244 acres of land valued at over $15 million. Through its Northwoods Initiative, a regional conservation program focused on northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, TPL is assisting communities and public agencies in identifying and protecting sensitive and threatened lands. For more information about TPL visit www.tpl.org.