Anyone seeking to escape into the great outdoors can do so in Wisconsin’s Brule River State Forest. This forest contains perhaps the finest trout stream in the state and is a favorite place for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and other outdoor adventures. The forest also supports a diversity of wildlife, from white-tail deer and black bear to roughly 200 bird species, including endangered and threatened varieties.

Historically, Brule River has welcomed explorers, adventurers, and even presidents. The Brule River (or Bois Brule River) was well-traveled by Native Americans and later by trappers, fur traders, voyagers and missionaries traveling between Lake Superior and the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. President Coolidge made a Cedar Island estate his “summer White House” during the 1920s.

The Fund’s Conservation Efforts

We helped conserve nearly 6,000 acres of working forestland by incorporating it into the Brule River State Forest. Conservation of this land safeguards important wildlife habitat and timberlands while also offering more opportunities for the public to hunt, canoe, camp, and fish.

Why did we work to expand this state forest? In the face of widespread forest loss, public and private partners are teaming up to preserve working forests across the Midwest—and across the country—in order to protect these lands for their recreational, ecological, and economic value. Drawing on our Great Lakes Revolving Loan Fund and funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, we purchased nearly 6,000 acres from Wausau Paper in 2006 and held it until the state of Wisconsin could secure funds to acquire the land. In 2007 we were able to work with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to add this land to the state forest.

North Country National Scenic Trail

The property is also the official “portal” to the North Country National Scenic Trail, as it stretches from North Dakota to Vermont. Managed by the National Park Service, the North Country National Scenic Trail is the longest, and one of only eight, National Scenic Trails in the United States. In addition to forest land, Wausau’s donation of a four-mile segment to the North Country National Scenic Trail—located west of the Brule property—adds significant value to this popular trail.

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