South Unit
North Unit
Annual Meeting  
Wild Flowers 
Bird Banding 

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. 
Other News
  • 1952 article on Sharptail from Milwaukee Journal see this link:
    Posted Jan 25, 2015, 5:36 PM by Bruce Pankratz
  • Blind Scheduling site now available It may cold and snowy now, but it is time to sign up for sharp-tailed grouse viewing! Spring will be here before we know it. If you've never watched the sharp-tailed grouse dance on the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area, you are missing out! :)
    Posted Jan 17, 2015, 4:17 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • Free online course see: Land Ethic Reclaimed: Perceptive Hunting, Aldo Leopold, and ConservationThe rich history of wildlife management and recreational hunting plays an important role in the evolving face of conservation. This course will explore the ethics, science, and democracy of conservation, hunting, and The Land Ethic in North America.
    Posted Dec 4, 2014, 4:28 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • Wolf tracking volunteers neeeded "Wolf Tracking Volunteers NeededShareTweetE-mail0 CommentsPrintBy KEN KRALLCredit" A key program helping DNR biologists track wolves is looking for volunteers.The Wolf Monitoring Program relies on volunteers to track the animals over winter.For more details see: (where this post was copied from)
    Posted Oct 18, 2014, 4:38 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • The Barrens in the News "The Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area in northwest Wisconsin contains a globally rare habitat, the pine barrens. The rare habitat also offers a rare sight of sharp-tailed grouse doing their flamboyant mating dance.  Sitting in the blind before the sun is up, Eyewitness News anxiously waited for some action. But it wasn't long before the male sharp-tails fill the dance floor."see:
    Posted Sep 12, 2014, 10:32 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • Tours of the Barrens in September The following text was copied from a .pdf file of a flier.  The flier is attached below. "Explore the Namekagon Barrens on Guided HikesST. CROIX FALLS, Wisconsin: Think a “barrens” is void of life? On the contrary! The Namekagon Barrens WildlifeArea, a globally rare habitat, has a diversity of vegetation and wildlife. Join the National Park Service and theWisconsin Department of Natural Resources on guided hikes to explore this rare gem.Hikes will be offered on the following dates: Saturday, September 13, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.and Saturday, September 27, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.The Namekagon Barrens are located west of Minong, in Burnett County, Wisconsin. Meet at the intersection of ...
    Posted Sep 6, 2014, 7:29 AM by Bruce Pankratz
Showing posts 1 - 6 of 60. View more »

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

(to contact FNBWA see Contact Us)