Auto Tour Stop 13


Open barrens have declined in Wisconsin from an estimated four million acres to just over 50,000 acres today. Similar declines have occurred elsewhere resulting in open barrens being declared a globally endangered habitat. On December 20, 2013 the pine forest in front of you was added to the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area when the Conservation Fund donated the property to the Department of Natural Resources. The land was previously owned by the Lyme Forest Company who agreed to sell it to the non-profit organization for $1,056,816. Eventually, this 1,398 acres of land will be managed as barrens habitat.

The State of Wisconsin Stewardship program donated $528,408 and Walmart-Acres For America made a grant of $500,000. This was the first such grant from Walmart Inc. ever made in Wisconsin. Other donations totaled $28,408 and were from several organizations including $5,000 each from the Friends of the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area and the Wisconsin Sharp-tailed Grouse Society and the remainder from the Four Cedars Foundation and Lux Foundation.

It will take several years to restore this land to barrens habitat as all existing trees will be commercially harvested, and the cleared land will be prescribed burned. Please explore the resulting barrens as it is restored. It should be quite interesting to see numerous prairie plants and open country animals returning to this site as land is burned and sunlight returns.