Our Efforts

In 2013, we worked with the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources to purchase nearly 1,400 acres from Lyme Timber Company. Wausau Paper Company owned the land prior to Lyme Timber Company, and The Conservation Fund had negotiated the right to buy the Namekagon Barrens during Wausau’s sale of the property to Lyme.

The property will become part of the 5,000-acre Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area. Joined with Brule-St. Croix Legacy Forest and other nearby protected properties, this creates a complex of more than one million conserved acres. The property will be open to the public for recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, trapping, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and bird watching.

A majority of the funding for the purchase came from the state’s flagship conservation program, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, through Walmart’s Acres for America program. Additional support for the project came from the McKnight Foundation, Four Cedars Foundation, Lux Foundation, St. Croix River Fund via the St. Croix Valley Foundation, Friends of Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area and the Wisconsin Sharp-tailed Grouse Society.

Why This Project Matters

Stitching together these conserved lands gives hope to endangered, threatened and declining species like the American woodcock, eastern wild turkey, golden-winged warbler, Blanding’s turtle, wood turtle, bald eagle, Connecticut warbler and upland sandpiper. In addition, the year-round recreational opportunities will greatly contribute to the region’s growing ecotourism industry and DNR will be able to more effectively manage the globally significant barrens, which are fire dependent, with controlled burning to ensure that pine and oak barren-dependent wildlife will endure.

"For the last 60 years, the staff at the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area has had a goal of managing at least 5,000 contiguous acres of the globally rare pine barren habitat. Anyone can see how special this place is after just one visit, you'll hear a lovely chorus of birds and see colorful vegetation that resemble beautiful works of art. Thanks to the efforts by The Conservation Fund, our goal is finally being met.”
—Nancy M. Christel, Wildlife Biologist 

Namekagon Barrens

Learn More