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The Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA) is owned by Burnett County and has been leased since 1956 to the Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Management Program to manage as a wildlife area. Originally part of the Burnett County Forest, the wildlife area is surrounded by Douglas, Washburn, and Burnett County Forests. The sandy soils of this region are excellent for growing red pine and jack pine. Since both species of trees are very fire prone and can cause large crown fires when ignited, NBWA makes an excellent break in this large expanse of pine and has always been viewed as a potential firebreak in the event of a large crown fire.

The Burnett County Board of Supervisors has long recognized the varied benefits of the wildlife area. Certainly the added fire protection has been viewed as a benefit, but they also have always supported multiple uses of county lands for tourism, recreation, and wildlife. NBWA has been recognized as a destination for both tourists and outdoor recreational enthusiasts. It also provides an increasingly rare habitat type that is home to a host of animal species, some of which are rare not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the world. The current lease expires April 22, 2017.

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