After several years of internal work and broad engagement with tribes, public land agencies, county-level tourism and economic development departments, other stakeholders, and the public at large, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has finalized its Recreation Facility Strategy and five-year program of work for developed recreation areas.

The analysis and program of work represents more than three years of work to develop a sustainable recreation program that reduces program costs while being responsive to our users, the tourism economy and local communities, said Paul Strong, forest supervisor for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Forest personnel evaluated the 193 developed recreation sites on the forest, which included an assessment of developed recreation opportunities on other public lands in northern Wisconsin and stakeholder input.

The strategy identifies 52 sites to remain as is. At 118 sites, there will be changes ranging from increased amenities to minor reductions in the level of operation and maintenance. Examples of improved amenities may include electrification of campsites, upgraded hand pumps, new fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms and additional improvements. Twenty-three sites will be converted to general forest after infrastructure is removed.

Implementing the five-year program of work begins yet this year.

"Plans for implementing the strategy are already in the works. We intend to start working on adding some electrical sites and paving roads at Chippewa and Lake Namekagon campgrounds as well as improvements happening at Mondeaux Dam Lodge," Strong said.

When fully implemented, the strategy is expected to save $300,000 annually, about a 25 percent reduction from current operational and maintenance costs.

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