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Summer brings hiking opportunities

Summer is officially here -- a wonderful time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Hiking is a great way to experience the outdoors in the Brule River State Forest. There are several hiking opportunities in the Brule River State Forest with a varie...

Summer is officially here -- a wonderful time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Hiking is a great way to experience the outdoors in the Brule River State Forest. There are several hiking opportunities in the Brule River State Forest with a variety of terrain and distances.

The Afterhours Ski Trails are great to use during the non-ski season, providing numerous loops to make for a short or long hike. The Stony Hill Nature Trail is a 1.65 mile loop located across from the Bois Brule Campground. The Old Bayfield Road Hiking and Snowshoe Trail is a 2.25 mile loop located three miles north of Highway 2 on Clevedon Road. This trail has a connecting trail to the Copper Range Campground and a great overlook of Lake Superior. There are also 40 miles of hunter walking trails within the Brule River State Forest.

A 16-mile segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail passes through the forest on its route between North Dakota and New York. The trail may be accessed from a new trailhead and marker dedicated to Senator Gaylord Nelson, located 8 miles south of Brule along WI Highway 27. It also follows along the two-mile Historic Brule/St.Croix Portage Trail, located north of Solon Springs on County Road A.

Back country camping is permitted on the North Country Trail in the Brule River State forest. Before heading out, make sure you know the back country camping regulations:

  • You must possess a Special Camp Registration Permit before heading out to camp. It is free of charge and can be obtained from Brule River State Forest Station.
  • To have a permit application mailed, please send your request to: Brule River State Forest, 6250 South Ranger Road, Brule, WI 54820
  • Campers must hike in with their gear a minimum of one mile from where they park their vehicle, and camp 100 feet off any trail and out of sight of any water body.
  • Carry In Carry Out. Please take your trash and recyclable items home.
  • Be sure your campfire is out when you leave. Never leave a fire unattended!
  • Dead and downed wood can be used for firewood. Do not cut any living trees or underbrush.
  • Trails may be used to access remote areas of the forest, but camping within 100 feet of a trail is prohibited.

For trail maps and information on the trail in the Brule River State Forest area go to http://www.northcountrytrail.org/bsc/map1.htm .

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For information on the Brule-St. Croix Chapter for the North Country Trail go to http://www.northcountrytrail.org/bsc .

Crows and ravens are starting to fledge. Their behavior may seem strange at this age, leading people to assume they have the West Nile virus. Now is also the time when people see car hit crows and ravens as the young birds aren't quick enough to get out of the way of traffic.

Spreading dogbane, valerian and sweet clover have started blooming. The blooming flowers attract many insects. One interesting insect that is active now is the clearwing moth (commonly called the hummingbird moth). At first glance they look like hummingbirds darting from flower to flower, but on closer inspection, antennae and a long proboscis (mouth part) can be seen if they will stay still for a moment. Their wings loose their scales except along the veins during their first flight creating see-though, or clear wings.

Monday, June 18 the Brule area received an inch of rain, bringing the Bois Brule River flow up to 170 cubic feet per second (cfs) for a short while. As of June 21, the Bois Brule River is flowing at 136 cfs. The 62 year average is 152 cfs.

With Independence Day coming up, the Brule River State Forest wishes to remind people that it is illegal to set off fireworks in Wisconsin State Parks and Forests.

Sparklers are okay to use, but anything that explodes, is self propelled or has flames coming out is considered illegal. This law is in effect to protect the fireworks users, other recreationists, and the natural resources.

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