As everyone knows it was getting really dry in the Barrens and all over this area. The last time there was any precipitation was May 1st and that was a small amount of mixed rain/snow. We basically went 2 weeks with no rain. It finally started raining a on May 15th, and we probably got at least 1 1/2″ – 3″ over a 3 day period finally clearing yesterday afternoon. My rain gauge broke, so I don’t have a good number, but it was a nice long steady rain, a real “soaker” and just what we needed.
With the rain it seemed like overnight spring arrived as everything just “exploded” in growth. The burned areas are now quickly turning a lush green, and I’ve never seen so many birdfoot violets before. There are long patches along all the fire lanes and the bright purple shows up against the still blacken areas from the recent burn. The bright yellow hoary puccoon is starting to show up as well. There is another yellow flower that just starting to bloom, but I’m not sure what it is. Many tiny flowers coming out of a “cone” looking pod about 1 1/2″ in diameter. The petals are not quite out, so it’s hard to tell what it is.
Those that were on the bird tour last Saturday saw some of this already, but there is much more after the rain. Of course around the perimeter of the barrens the oak leaves are finally “exploding” with that beautiful yellow-green color. Springtime has arrived indeed.
Note: Right after the bird tour ended, I drove north on Gomulak Fire Lane and just before getting to the east STG blind there were two sandhill cranes standing about 50 yards from the road. I haven’t seen sandhill cranes in the barrens before. And early that morning on the way to the cabin there were two Canada geese standing on the shoulder of No Mans Lake Road, an odd place for geese.
Dear Friends, in the fall, the Sandhill Cranes do lots of dancing, probably practicing and teaching the youngsters how to celebrate, this is my favorite from this past fall, til Tomorrow MJ
Registration begins today for the 2017 sharp-tailed grouse viewing blinds on the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area. Be sure to sign up early so you don’t miss the chance to observe the mating dances. Availability is limited.
Northwest Barrens Properties Master Plan – Tentatively Scheduled for January 2017 Natural Resources Board Meeting
The revised Northwest Barrens Properties draft master plan is tentatively scheduled for the Jan. 25, 2017 Natural Resources Board meeting. As a reminder, the draft master plan will be posted on the DNR webpage when it is officially listed on a Natural Resources Board meeting agenda. There will be another opportunity to provide public input on the plan at that time.
Thank you for your interest in these properties and their future management. DNR staff welcome your continued involvement as you enjoy the natural resources benefits these properties provide.
Tuesday, August 30, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Chicog Township Hall
W8499 US Highway 77, Trego, Wisconsin 54888
SPOONER, Wis. – The Northwest Barrens Properties draft master plan is available for public review and comment Saturday, Aug. 20 through Saturday, Sept. 10.
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 at email@example.com.
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).
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.