Dispersed camping areas for paddlers, a new dog training area and six new state natural areas are in the plans for the Lower Wolf River Bottomlands Natural Resources Area.
The DNR held public meetings May 23 in Navarino and May 31 in New London on a draft master plan for the 214,000-acre LWRBNRA, located in Shawano, Waupaca, Outagamie and Winnebago counties. The area includes state-owned and private land on and near the Wolf River from Shawano to Lake Poygan.
State-owned lands in the property include the Navarino, Deer Creek, Maine, Outagamie, Mack, Mukwa, Wolf River Bottoms (Herb Behnke and LaSage units), Wolf River and Rat River wildlife areas; Wolf River Bottoms, Hortonville Bog and Shaky Lake state wildlife areas; and Wolf River Fishery Area.
“We don’t have a lot of large river bottoms in the state, so this is an important resource here,” DNR wildlife planner Yoyi Steele told about 20 people that showed up for the Oct. 23 hearing at the Navarino Nature Center. “The focus has always been on hunting, fishing and trapping. The properties in the area get a lot of use. The draft master plan recognizes all of these values and tries to plan for them.”
Highlights of the plan include:
• Continued emphasis on management of forested and open wetlands, including bottomland hardwoods, emergent marsh, sedge meadow, flowages and riverine habitats.
• Protection and management of aquatic resources and habitats, including walleye and sturgeon spawning areas, game and nongame fisheries and mussel populations.
• Enhanced wildlife viewing areas.
• Protection and management of high-quality and regionally rare natural communities such as floodplain forest, northern sedge meadow and tamarack bog that harbor rare species.
• Continued emphasis on traditional outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping.
• Continuation of wildlife and environmental education programming through the Navarino Nature Center.
• Continued collaborations with private landowners, local governments and conservation organizations on shared stewardship and management goals.
Two dispersed camping areas are proposed in Shawano and Outagamie counties.
“It’s a service for canoeists and kayakers making multiple-day trips,” Steele said.
The dog training area is proposed for the Herb Behnke Unit of the Wolf River Bottoms Wildlife Area.
The six new proposed state natural areas are Navarino Cedar Swamp, Navarino Sedge Meadow and Highway K Woods, all located within the Navarino Wildlife Area; Deer Creek Tamarack Bog, located in the Deer Creek Wildlife Area; LaSage Bottoms, located in the LaSage Unit of the Wolf River Bottoms Wildlife Area; and Winchester Meadows, located near Lake Poygan.
“Most of the area is a habitat management area,” Steele said. “There’s a lot of wetlands that provide habitat for birds, spawning fish and lots of other species. It has a lot of habitat for critical species and an obvious one is sturgeon.”
Copies of the plan are available at the Navarino Nature Center, Navarino; Mosquito Hill Nature Center, New London; and at public libraries in New London, Clintonville and Shawano. The plan can also be accessed through the DNR web site, dnr.wi.gov, and using search words “Lower Wolf Master Plan.”
Comments on the plan are being accepted through Friday, June 22, and can be sent to Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org or 101 S. Webster St., WM/6, Madison, WI 53707-7921; or area wildlife supervisor Ellen Barth at email@example.com or 625 E. County Road Y, Suite 700, Oshkosh, WI 54901.