STOP 18: PUBLIC USES
Hunters and fishermen are largely responsible for paying the cost of the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA). Hunting and fishing licenses and necessary permits, plus a federal tax on all equipment used in these sports, cover the cost of the annual lease payment to Burnett County Government. It also pays for wildlife surveys, all habitat management, and property maintenance.
While sportsmen and sportswomen cover the costs of these public lands, they are not the primary benefactors. Little or no fishing takes place on the property. Very few hunters pursue sharp-tailed grouse here, because permits are severely limited to protect the small population. Other game species such as turkeys, deer, and bear as well as furbearers such as coyotes are abundant and more heavily hunted. However, many more visitors come here for what wildlife professionals term “non-consumptive uses.”
Dog training and professional dog trials are very popular on the property. Some visitors come to observe the spring dance of breeding sharp-tailed grouse. Others come to look for or to study the many different species of rare wildlife. Simply observing the great diversity of prairie plants or gazing over the scenic South Unit attracts many visitors. Still others come to enjoy the opportunity to use their snowmobile or ATV on designated trails. While hunting is an important use of the property, all other uses combined greatly exceed usage by “paying” customers.