Sharp-tailed grouse. Photo by Larry Dau.
At A Glance
- Expansion of Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area by 30%.
- Creates a 1 million-acre complex of protected land.
- Preserves critical wildlife habitat and enhances recreation opportunities.
Did You Know
The sharp-tailed grouse, a relative of the greater prairie chicken, has a very unique mating dance. See it here.
"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
The Namekagon Barrens in northwest Wisconsin are actually anything but barren. The mix of brush, prairie and forest provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, like the sharp-tailed grouse and the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. But this globally-significant landscape is in peril, due to increased fragmentation of the land.
In 2013, we worked with the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources to purchase nearly 1,500 acres from Lyme Timber Company as an expansion to the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area. 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.
Joined with Brule-St. Croix Legacy Forest and other nearby protected properties, this creates a complex of more than 1 million conserved acres. 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.
The property will be open to the public for recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, trapping, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and bird watching, which will contribute to the region’s growing ecotourism industry.