Exploring the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

With travel restrictions in place to help stop the spread of the COVID 19 virus, Co-hosts Nancy Christopher and Mary Motiff, Director of Bayfield County Tourism, are doing their part to keep their distance. Instead of presenting a new guest, this is a slightly edited version of a previous episode. They talked with Jennifer Maziasz, the Recreation Manager for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest about all the ways to explore and enjoy the nearly 1.5 million acres of public lands and waterways in Bayfield County.

An astounding 83 percent of Bayfield County is forested and according to Jen, you can find a little bit of everything in the woods - miles of trails for snowmobiles, ATVS, hiking, biking and horseback riding, waterfalls and unique ecosystems like the Sugar Maple stands and the Moquah Pine Barrens. An imperiled ecosystem, the Moquah Pines Barrens is home to lots of wildlife, including the sharp tail grouse and some rare butterflies. It’s also the best place for blueberry picking in the summer.

Jen says that one of the most popular places is the Valhalla Recreation Area for its groomed cross-country skiing trails, ATV trails and mountain and fat bike riding. She also says that people like Long Lake, a quiet, beautiful lake for fishing, paddle boarding and kayaking.

Hunting and fishing is allowed in the national forest but does require a permit from the Wisconsin DNR. While most of the forest can be publicly accessed, there is a Managed Forest Law Program for private lands that visitors should be aware of. To find out about what is public and what is not, fees, permits, maps and anything else, Jen advises visitors to stop by the Washburn Ranger District, the WDNR station in Ashland or the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center in Ashland. There is also a website for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest at www.fs.usda.gov/cnnf.

Bayfield County Businesses Welcome Your Support

These are uncertain times for all of us, but for small businesses that rely heavily on tourism for their income, it is particularly challenging. Mary says you can help by purchasing gift cards or shopping online. Mary also encourages listeners to visit the Bayfield County Tourism Facebook page to tell us what you like most about our area and what you are looking forward to when everyone can return. Also, feel free to tag Bayfield County Tourism on Instagram.