New maps make it easier to visit Minnesota state forests

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has produced six new, state-of-the-art maps that will make it easier and safer for people to explore, hunt and recreate in state forests. “The DNR has updated six state forest maps with 53 more to go,” said Forrest Boe, director of the DNR Forestry Division. “This five-year effort will include updating maps for all of Minnesota’s state forests.”
State forest users now have two maps options. A geo map will allow users to download a map onto a mobile device using a variety of map apps and then track their location as a blue dot on the screen. The new user-friendly, paper maps highlight the unique recreation features of each forest and include pop-out maps for popular campgrounds and day-use areas.
“The little blue dot that appears on the map on my phone goes with me whether I’m on or off-trail,” said Laura Duffey, DNR state forest map project coordinator. “This feature lets people know exactly where they are in a state forest - no more getting lost.”
The maps are also more detailed than previous versions and highlight the endless recreation opportunities in state forests, such as hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and horseback, ATV and snowmobile riding. Many state forests also offer campgrounds, fishing piers, boat launches, swimming beaches and picnic areas.
The six new maps are available in time for fall hunting and cover more than 240,000 acres of state forest land and thousands of miles of trails.
New geo and paper maps are now available for:
* Paul Bunyan State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties.
* Badoura State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties.
* St. Croix State Forest in Pine County.
* Huntersville State Forest in Cass, Hubbard and Wadena counties.
* Lyons State Forest in Wadena County.
* Chengwatana State Forest in Pine and Chisago counties.
The Paul Bunyan and Badoura state forests are popular spots for hunters. Combined, they contain two campgrounds and day-use areas, four off-highway vehicle trails, five wildlife management areas (WMAs), two ruffed grouse management areas and four state game refuges. They also have hiking, biking, snowmobiling and skiing trails.
The Huntersville and Lyons state forests are popular with hunters. Each state forest contains four WMAs and several miles of trails and roads for off-highway vehicles. Additionally, the Huntersville State Forest offers two campgrounds, a horse campground, and 24 miles of designated horse trails.
The St. Croix State Forest offers a variety of year-round recreation opportunities. It has 20 miles of horseback trails and a horse campground with 56 campsites. In the winter, snowmobilers can enjoy 42 miles of trails while in the summer mountain bikers can cruise 25 miles of trails. The Boulder Campground and day-use area has 22 secluded campsites and access to Rock Lake for swimming, fishing and boating.
The Chengwatana State Forest contains the Snake River Campground and several miles of off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails. Three state water trails run through the forest: Kettle River, Snake River, and St. Croix River. Snowmobliers also use the Matthew Lourey State Trail, which runs through the forest. The new maps also shows locations of National Park Service campsites along the St. Croix River. Digital, geo maps are available on the state forest’s webpage at www.mndnr.gov/state_forests/maps-launch.html.
People can get a free paper map at a local DNR office or the DNR Info Center by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 888-646-6367, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.         

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Trappers should contact DNR about trapped wolves

MADISON, WI – Trappers who incidentally capture wolves are encouraged to contact Wisconsin Department of Natural resources staff and participate in Wisconsin’s wolf collaring and monitoring program.
“Tracking collared wolves is a critical component of Wisconsin’s wolf monitoring program. Trappers can help improve the quality of Department of Natural Resources wolf population data by allowing us to collar incidentally captured wolves before they are released.” said Nathan Libal, DNR wildlife biologist.
Voluntary participation from Wisconsin’s trappers is an important part of the department’s work with many stakeholders and partners to monitor the state’s wolf population.
In the event of an incidental wolf capture, DNR staff will work closely with the participating trappers to determine if the wolf is a good candidate for our monitoring program.  Interested trappers can contact DNR wolf program staff by calling 715-401-1764.
For more information regarding wolf monitoring and management in Wisconsin, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “wolf.”
 
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Updated Wisconsin wildlife reports now available

MADISON, WI - The public can find the latest results for a wide variety of wildlife surveys conducted in 2016 and 2017 such as population surveys and estimates, harvest results and wildlife observations that are now available in reports on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.
The reports include data collected from small game, big game, furbearer and non-game categories. The reports were made possible by Pittman-Robertson funding.
DNR staff would like to thank volunteers who assisted with survey efforts for their continued commitment to Wisconsin's wildlife.
The following reports for 2016-17 can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "reports."

SMALL GAME
Small Game Harvest, 2016-17
Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey, 2017
Wisconsin Sharp-tailed Grouse Survey, 2017
Rural Mail Carrier Pheasant Survey, 2017
Spring Ring-Necked Pheasant Survey, 2017
Regional Bobwhite Quail and Cottontail Rabbit Survey, 2017

BIG GAME
Black Bear Population Analyses, 2017
Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program, 2016
Agricultural Deer Damage Shooting Permits, 2016
Winter Severity Indices, 2016-17

FURBEARERS
Bobcat Harvest, 2016
Fisher Harvest, 2016
Otter Harvest, 2016-17
Bobcat Population Analyses, 2017
Fisher Population Analyses, 2017
Otter Population Analyses, 2017
Bobcat Hunter/Trapper Survey, 2016
Winter Track Counts, 1977-2017
Beaver Trapping Questionnaire, 2016-1
Fur Trapper Survey, 2016-17
Wisconsin Fur Buyers Report, 2016-17

NONGAME
Central Wisconsin Greater Prairie-Chicken Survey, 2017
Frog and Toad Survey, 2016
American Marten Winter Track Surveys in Northern Wisconsin, 2016-17
Moose Observations, 2016
Rare Carnivore Observations, 2016

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


DNR invites public input on recreational trails

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is holding a public input meeting about the future of motorized and nonmotorized trails in Huntersville and Lyons state forests and other state forest lands in Wadena County.
The meeting will be 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Menahga Public School, 216 Aspen Ave. SE, Menahga.
Potential changes to trails within the planning area include adding new trails, connecting trails to facilities and amenities, and rerouting or closing unsustainable trails.
Comments received at the meeting will be used to develop a draft recommendation that will be submitted to the DNR commissioner for approval. Changes to forest trail designations must be made by commissioner’s orders.
Written comments may be submitted by fax to 651-297-1157, by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail to Joe Unger, Parks and Trails Division, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN  55155-4039. The DNR will accept written comments through Wednesday, Nov. 8.  
For more information:
Contact Tim Williamson, acquisition and development specialist, Parks and Trails Division, 218-308-2369.
Visit the Minnesota State Forest Trail Revisions Project webpage at www.mndnr.gov.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas taking shape

MADISON, WI - After the third year of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas survey, volunteers have documented 220 bird species breeding in the state, most recently including a family of rare and secretive marsh birds called king rails. With this addition, 12 new species have been observed nesting in Wisconsin that weren't found during the first Breeding Bird Atlas survey two decades ago.
"A few of these king rails were reported in the first atlas, but none were confirmed as nesting here," said Ryan Brady, Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist and science coordinator for the Atlas. "So it's exciting to see wetland management efforts having positive benefits for a species that requires high-quality marshes to successfully raise its young."
Good wetland management by state and federal wildlife management staff have also contributed to another Atlas finding - that trumpeter swans are undergoing an impressive expansion in range and numbers since the last survey from 1995-2000, Brady said.
Trumpeter swans were decimated by overhunting by the late 1800s, and the species was mostly absent from Wisconsin until DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program and partners began reintroducing the species in 1987.
"Even a decade ago, most breeding pairs kept to the more remote northern lakes," Brady said. "Good wetland management and protection have allowed trumpeters to use unoccupied marshes and increase their numbers to over 5,000 birds."
Volunteers have documented them breeding across the north, northwest, and central regions and birds have even colonized the Lower Wisconsin River.
The purpose of the five-year atlas effort is to document all bird species that breed in Wisconsin, from common year-round residents like northern cardinal to species of high conservation interest like Connecticut warbler. Some of these species may be vanishing, while others are holding their own, or even increasing, but only a statewide effort will reveal these trends, said Nicholas Anich, Breeding Bird Atlas coordinator for DNR.
"The project has already amassed records of 4.9 million birds but we still have a ways to go," Anich said. "We need more volunteers to survey priority areas so we get a complete picture of what's going on with our bird populations and how we can help them moving forward."
More than 1,400 volunteers have contributed to the survey so far, but more are needed to survey remaining priority areas, particularly in northern, central, and western regions of the state.
Volunteers collect data by observing birds, and enter their sightings online, where the information is reviewed by Anich, Brady, and other ornithologists from organizations leading the project: The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, and DNR.
All Wisconsin residents are encouraged to participate, especially those who live or travel to priority areas like northern, central, and western Wisconsin. "It's easy to participate and you don't have to be an expert birder to help," said Bill Mueller, director of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, "We're constantly hearing from people how rewarding atlasing is, and we welcome participants of all ability levels."
To volunteer, visit the project website at wsobirds.org/atlas. Training sessions and field trips will take place throughout Wisconsin in 2018. When the project is completed, the data will be published in a hard-copy book and online for use by researchers, land managers, conservationists, and citizens interested in birds and their habitats.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


October public meetings gather feedback about outdoor recreation

MADISON, WI - The public will have an opportunity at a series of upcoming meetings to provide input on two draft chapters of a Department of Natural Resources Recreation Opportunities Analysis and begin the process of examining opportunities in three other regions of Wisconsin.
The Recreation Opportunities Analysis is examining existing outdoor-based recreation opportunities and future recreation opportunities in eight regions throughout Wisconsin.
The initial drafts identify recreation opportunities in the Great Northwest (Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Polk, Barron and Rusk counties) and Upper Lake Michigan Coastal Regions (Marinette, Oconto, Manitowoc, Brown, Kewaunee and Door counties) and the potential role of DNR-managed properties in helping to meet these opportunities.
In August, the department held open house meetings asking for public input about these regions. Feedback was also received through an online public input opportunity that was open in August and early September. Using this input, the department developed a draft chapter for each region describing future needs unique to each part of the state and the potential role DNR-managed properties play in helping to meet those needs.
Comments are welcome on the draft chapters through Oct. 27.
Open house meetings are scheduled from 4-7 p.m. in each region where department staff will provide an overview at 5:30 p.m.:
* Tuesday Oct. 17, De Pere - Brown County Library - Kress Family Branch, 333 North Broadway Street.
* Wednesday Oct. 18, Rice Lake - City of Rice Lake Building, 30 East Eau Claire St.
Next regions to begin study for Recreation Opportunities Analysis
The next regions to be studied are the Mississippi River Corridor, Western Sands and Lake Winnebago regions. The counties included in these regions are:
* Mississippi River Corridor: Buffalo, Crawford, Dunn, Grant, La Crosse, Pepin, Pierce, St Croix, Trempealeau, and Vernon.
* Lake Winnebago Waters: Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Menominee, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago.
Western Sands: Adams, Chippewa, Clark, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, Marathon, Monroe, Portage, and Wood.
The public is invited to participate in this analysis by providing information through the online input opportunities found by searching the DNR website for keyword "ROA." The public can provide feedback online or print out the questionnaire and send completed forms to the department. Public input opportunities for these three regions are open through Nov. 17.
Later this month, the department will host public open house meetings to gather additional input to the Mississippi River Corridor, Lake Winnebago Waters and Western Sands regions.
The open houses will be held from 4-7 p.m. in the following dates and locations:
* Oct. 23, Altoona - River Prairie Center, 1445 Front Porch Place.
* Oct. 24, Stevens Point - Holiday Inn, 1001 Amber Ave.
* Oct. 25, Onalaska - Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center, 3060 South Kinney Coulee Road.
* Nov. 1, Appleton - Fox Valley Technical College (Bordini Center), 5 Systems Drive
While the ROA process is underway in these counties, additional public meetings in other regions will be held as the process moves forward. The analysis process will generally describe recreation opportunities for each region.
To receive email updates regarding the ROA process, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select "Recreation opportunities analysis," found within the list titled "outdoor recreation."
For more information regarding the recreational opportunities analysis, search keyword "ROA."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Help DNR staff monitor Wisconsin's wolf population

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin's wolf monitoring program relies upon volunteers from around the state who help track animals each winter, and people interested in playing a key role in wildlife management are encouraged to sign up for one of a number of classes offered statewide.
Carnivore tracking classes focus on learning to identify the tracks of medium- to large-size carnivores that inhabit Wisconsin, as well as a few other common mammals. Wolf ecology and management classes cover the history of wolves in Wisconsin, their biology and ecology, how DNR monitors the population, and state management and research. Completion of both classes is required to participate in the wolf monitoring program as a volunteer carnivore tracker.
"DNR staff and volunteers tracked over 14,000 miles last winter searching for wolf, coyote, bobcat, and other medium to large size carnivore tracks in Wisconsin," said DNR assistant carnivore biologist Jane Wiedenhoeft. "It's a great way to get out and enjoy Wisconsin in the winter while helping the department monitor some of the state's most interesting wildlife."
Department of Natural Resources biologists and volunteers have partnered to provide informative classes focused on aspects of wolf ecology, population biology and field study techniques. Tracking is a great way to experience the outdoors in winter and make a contribution to natural resource management. For a list of courses offered, search the DNR website for volunteer carnivore trackingpage and select the "training courses" option on the right side of the page.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR