Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge featured image

“Hack-ma-tack” is the Algonquin word for the tamarack tree found in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. In addition to the namesake tree, this landscape features oak and hickory groves and meandering streams that feed Nippersink Creek and surrounding wetlands. More than a hundred different species of birds and animals call this region home—including threatened and endangered species such as the Blanding’s turtle and sandhill crane.

The Trust for Public Land worked in partnership with The Friends of Hackmatack and Openlands to set the groundwork for federal designation of the Hackmatack as a national wildlife refuge. In August 2012, the Interior Department approved the addition of the Hackmatack to the nation’s system of refuges.

The refuge encompasses more than 60 publicly and privately owned parks, preserves, and natural areas totaling 23,000 acres. In addition to connecting protected lands and trails and promoting tourism, the refuge provides much-needed opportunities to millions of people in the Chicago and Milwaukee area to get outdoors and enjoy nature.