The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on proposals for the addition of camping to the Rainbow Flowage, expanded motorized access to the Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area and future management of recently acquired properties in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest during upcoming open house meetings and an online chat.
Department of Natural Resources forestry officials are seeking public comments on a proposed amendment to the master plans for Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest and Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area.
After consideration of public comments received in May, the DNR has identified preferred alternatives for the master plan amendments. People can review and provide comments on the proposed amendments by searching the DNR website for keywords “Northern Highland,” and then clicking on the tab for “management and business.”
Online chat and public meetings available
People can discuss master plan amendments with DNR staff during a live online “chat” session, Tues., July 23, from 6 to 7 p.m. To participate, visit the DNR home page, dnr.wi.gov, and search “ask the experts.”
Two open house public meetings will provide additional public involvement opportunities. Both open houses will run from 3 to 7 p.m. and will be held:
• July 24, Presque Isle, Presque Isle Town Hall, 8306 School Loop Road.
• July 25, Tomahawk, Little Rice Town Hall, 3737 County Road Y.
Written or email comments can be addressed to Steve Petersen, NHAL Superintendent, or Tom Shockley, Willow Flowage Property Manager, at DNR Service Center, 8770 Highway J, Woodruff, WI 54568, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The public can submit comments on the proposal through August 9.
The amendment proposes the addition of camping opportunities on the Rainbow Flowage located with the forest in Oneida County, including water accessed group sites, canoe sites and a traditional group camp. Currently there are no camping opportunities at Rainbow Flowage property.
At the Willow Flowage, also in Oneida County, the proposed changes would allow public motorized access on three road segments, totaling 7.4 miles. The three segments are existing roads developed and maintained to a moderately developed standard, currently supporting vehicle use for forest management purposes.
Two of the road segments, Iron Gate Road and West Side Fire Lane, would be open seasonally from approximately September to December. The Cedar Falls Fire lane road segment would be open year round, except when the road is groomed and used as a snowmobile trail.
Parts of the Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area are currently open to all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles with trails that are a part of an interconnected trail system. ATV and UTV use is proposed on the Iron Gate road during the same time period as vehicle access. This segment will create an additional connector link using county forest and town roads already in place just south of Iron Gate Road. ATV use is proposed on West Side and Cedar Falls fire lanes; however, the use would be dependent on the private landowner at the north and south end of the state property also allowing ATV use, as well as town roads retaining ATV route status.
The proposed amendment also places five recently acquired properties in the forest into existing land management classifications and associated management objectives identified in the master plan. Four blocks will be managed for forest production classification and one block will be managed under a native community classification in the Hemlock Hardwood Area.
The existing NHAL master plan, approved in 2005, is not scheduled for a review until 2020.
DNR staff will use the public’s input to help finalize proposals for the future use and management of new properties, and to determine public access on the Willow. Final amendments will be shared with the public and brought to the Natural Resources Board for their approval in the fall of 2013.
Print copies of proposed amendments and comment forms are available from Bob Dall, DNR, 107 Sutliff Ave., Rhinelander, WI 54501, firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 715-365-8993.