South Unit
North Unit
Annual Meeting  
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The Barrens 
The Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA) is a 5,050 acre property located in the northeast corner of Burnett County, northwestern Wisconsin, consisting of two parcels. These are referred to as the north unit and the south unit. This property is leased by the State of Wisconsin from Burnett County. The north unit lies 7 miles east of Highway 35 on St. Croix Trail Road or 11 miles west of Minong. The south unit is 2 miles to the south and west of the north unit on Namekagon Road and Springbrook Trail. The St. Croix River flows within a mile to the west of the barrens while the Namekagon River lies between the North and South Unit. Both rivers are designated as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The NBWA is part of the Northwest Sands Area of northwest Wisconsin, and contains mainly pine barrens community habitat. This community type is globally rare and includes rich and diverse prairie flora and fauna. Two trout streams, Beaver Creek and Clemens Creek, originate from springs on the north unit and flow to the nearby St. Croix River. The surrounding lands are mainly Burnett County Forest and industrial forests owned by Mosinee Paper Company, and contain mostly jack pine, scrub oak, and red pine plantation forests (information borrowed from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website). Many old-timers in the area refer to the entire sandy region found in the area as “the barrens” or “the pine barrens.” They often refer to the very young habitat found after a fire as “brush prairie.” Perhaps more frequently, people refer only to the recently burned areas as barrens. The region is noted for having very sandy, droughty soils. Prior to modern fire control techniques much of this area burned quite frequently either by acts of nature, such as lightning strikes, or was intentionally burned by humans. Early settlers frequently set fires to clear land for farming. Prior to this, Native Americans burned the region to attract game animals, stimulate blueberry production, control biting insects, and ease cross country travel. These frequent fires kept much of the landscape in a mixture of brush, prairie plants, and very short oak or pine. Pine barrens covered 7% of the land, or 2.3 million acres, prior to the European settlement. Oak barrens covered 5%, or 1.8 million acres. As of 1995, approximately 10,000 acres of good quality pine and oak barrens remained at 65 Wisconsin sites. To date, the total estimate of remaining pine and oak barrens is 50,000 acres, but much of it is degraded. Most remaining pine and oak barrens exist as small, isolated fragments on approximately a dozen state- or federally-managed areas. These fragments may indicate that a larger area of the surrounding landscape has the potential to return to a barrens stage. (Info taken from Wisconsin Ecological Landscapes Handbook)..

It's Friends
Numerous National Parks, State Parks, and other areas have a Friends group to promote the knowledge, appreciation, and perpetuation of resources. Friends of the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (FNBWA) share these objectives for Lake States barrens in general, and the Namekagon Barrens in particular. FNBWA will provide information via newsletter, website, newspaper articles, tours, and other public events. Many resources from nearby areas, including other Friends groups, are applicable to Namekagon Barrens with only minor modification. We will work to facilitate lease renewal from the County or the outright purchase of the area.
  • 2014 General Membership Meeting - Saturday, May 17th 
    8:00 am 
  • Natural Resources Foundation Field Trip  - Saturday June 14th 9AM (see Other News for details)
    Other News
    • Blinds are open BLINDS ARE OPEN!!!!! Get signed up and get out there and see the Sharp-tailed Grouse dance!!!From Nancy Cervantes Christel"The snow has melted. We put the blinds out today. If you're driving to the east blind, go north on Dry Landing from Saint Croix and then east on Clemens. Park at Clemens and Gomulak and walk south to blind. There is still too much snow on Gomulack. The birds are dancing. Enjoy!"
      Posted by Bruce Pankratz
    • Periodic Post - April 2014 April is the beginning of spring events and the ending of winter events, plus or minus the vagaries of nature – like this winter. Below are some of my favorite photos of the barrens during the winter and spring seasons.The Namekagon Barrens is a beautiful place to visit, however it is not always obvious. You do need to step out of the car, or off the ATV or snowmobile to see what it is there is to see there. View the sharp-tailed mating dance from the comfort of the Namekagon Barrens blinds! To reserve your spot, sign up for a viewing time. The dance is a sight like few other spectacles in nature. You won’t be disappointed! Soon ...
      Posted Apr 12, 2014, 6:25 PM by Bruce Pankratz
    • Natural Resources Foundation Field Trip 9:00 AM  -  12:30 PM69. Sand Pine Barrens of the Northwest"Explore the rare pine barrens of NW Wisconsin including a renewed barrens in the path of the Germann Road Fire and a mature wooded barrens just off the fire line. Compare first hand the differences, and discover unique plants, birds & wildlife in this scenic landscape. / Gordon, Douglas Co. / Leader: Bob Hanson "see  to register
      Posted Apr 3, 2014, 6:37 AM by Bruce Pankratz
    • Untitled Post Check out this short video clip of a not extinct bird that is very similar to sharp-tailed grouse.
      Posted Apr 1, 2014, 1:36 PM by Nancy
    • Untitled Post Do you think there is no bird like sharp-tailed grouse? Check out for more information about WSGS. Click on newsletter to get more information about the annual meeting being held April 26 - 27th (Saturday to Sunday). Hope to see you there.
      Posted Mar 31, 2014, 9:29 AM by Nancy
    • Annual meeting - May 17th General Membership MeetingSaturday, May 17th8:00 am - Birding Walkaboutled by Bruce DeLong (thanks, Bruce!)10:00 am - Meetingfollowed by a raffle of a fine art painting created byJim Springett (thanks, Jimmy!) NoonLunch provided
      Posted Mar 29, 2014, 7:47 AM by Bruce Pankratz
    Showing posts 1 - 6 of 34. View more »

    Be a friend of the Barrens.  Tell a friend about the Barrens and its Friends. 

    (to contact FNBWA see Contact Us)