South Unit
North Unit
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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
  • Annual Membership Meeting - Saturday, June 20, 2015 11:00 - Noon: Arrive and visit informally.  Noon: Soft drinks, beer, brats, and burgers (donation appreciated).  Meeting agenda:  Friends Annual Report - Mark Nupen.  DNR management activities at NBWA - Nancy Christel.  Wildlife observations - Nancy Christel.  Connecting the barrens of Northwest Wisconsin - Bob Hanson.  Raffle for a framed print by Twin Cities artist, Louis Raymer, titled "Spring Dance at Crex", an out-of-print piece of dancing sharp-tailed grouse highly prized by collectors.  Must be present to purchase a raffle ticket.  Map/Directions
    Posted Jun 6, 2015, 10:31 AM by Fnbwa CommitteeBOARD
  • New Web Site for Burnett County Tourism There is a new web site for Burnett County mentioning the 'barrens'. See:  Burnett County Tourism Site
    Posted Apr 3, 2015, 11:29 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • Can you help? Are you interested in running the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey? Here are the local route maps (linked below). Contact either Andrew Badje at (608) 266-3336 or email if interested.  Barron County Polk County Washburn County (Tentative availability – awaiting response from potential volunteer) 
    Posted Mar 24, 2015, 7:27 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • Bluebird Report from 2014 Bluebirds on the Barrens 2014 was a good year for our Bluebirds nesting on the Namekagon Barrens.  It was a cold, snowy late spring last  year and, as a result, the Bluebirds got a late start nesting   The birds had time to attempt only two  broods. In 2013  Spring came soon enough to give a number of birds a chance at hatching three broods. The exciting news to report is that the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, to whom the data collected from our trail of 24 boxes is submitted,  has designated our Bluebird trail as a “trail of excellence”.  To achieve this rating, a trail has  to reach 2.6 + fledglings per box which would put the trail above ...
    Posted Mar 24, 2015, 4:31 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • The 8th Annual Crex Harvest Feed From: Wheeler, Kimberly J - DNR Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2015 3:25 PMTo: (removed by webmaster)Subject: 8th Annual Crex Harvest Feed It's time for the Crex Harvest Feed!  Spread the word to anyone you think might like to participate!  Attached is a printable flyer. The 8th Annual Crex Harvest FeedFriday, February 27, 2015  5:00 pm at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Education and Visitor CenterAll who help with wildlife and education are invited!  Bring a wild dish to pass (game, harvested plant matter from your garden or from the wild, a dessert, etc.) A grill and an oven will be available for last minute prep if needed. Get creative!  Your dish could win the ...
    Posted Feb 18, 2015, 7:18 AM by Bruce Pankratz
  • New for 2015 This year you can share your experiences in the STG blinds with people who may want to use the blinds in the future on the web page. Other people may use your comments to decide to join the fun in the future. If your cellphone works on the barrens you may even be able to do so when in the blinds. See: for details. You can also find this page in the sidebar on all web pages in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. If you would like to share any photos you can put them on the FNBWA Facebook page or use Flickr (See Barrens Art in the sidebar ...
    Posted Feb 9, 2015, 4:43 AM by Bruce Pankratz
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