Snowmobile registrations show thousands enjoying trails
Wisconsin’s publicly registered snowmobile total is approaching a quarter-million, solidifying the state's reputation as a destination location for winter outdoor fun.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp credits the public registrations to the combination of the 25,000 miles of groomed trails – 19,250 of those miles funded through the DNR’s snowmobile grant program.
DNR records show as of early February, there were 222,690 publicly registered snowmobiles in Wisconsin. Among the top counties with the most total snowmobiles registered are Vilas, Oneida, Marathon, Brown, Outagamie and Dane.
“The entire state is enjoying a winter of snow, which is a bit different from previous winters where the snow depth was quite different from north and south, or east and west,” Stepp says. “Here in Wisconsin we are lucky in that we have snowmobile organizations who take the time to care for these trails – and landowners who grant permission for trails to cross their acres.”
Stepp says Wisconsin wardens also are there to help snowmobilers on the trail and also to teach snowmobile safety techniques. “We are fortunate to have volunteer instructors who join in the DNR’s goal to have everyone have fun on the trails - and to ride smart from the start - and that includes taking a snowmobile safety course.”
There are classroom courses as well as an online course for those age 16 and older. The Wisconsin law requires those born on or after Jan. 1, 1985, and are at least age 12, to complete a snowmobile safety certification course to operate a snowmobile on Wisconsin public snowmobile trails and areas.
For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “snowmobile.”
Yellow perch summit
Join the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission and participating state agencies for a March 22 yellow perch summit.
You’ll get the latest research on Lake Michigan yellow perch populations, fishing and management and the opportunity to provide your input to Lake Michigan fishery managers from Wisconsin and other states on where to go next to try to improve populations of yellow perch.
The summit, hosted by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will be held at the UIC Forum, at 725 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago. Online participation is also available for those who register.
Registration is free at the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission website, http://www.glfc.org/lakecom/yp/, or by phone, 847-294-4134, until March 15, after which a $20 fee will be charged.
People who want to participate online must register as well; a link will be provided after they register.
Oak wilt confirmed at Rib Mountain State Park
The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of oak wilt in several red oak trees along the main road into Rib Mountain State Park. Oak wilt is a fungal disease that eventually kills affected trees.
Although oak wilt has been present in Marathon County for many years, this is the first time it has appeared in the park.
“Oak wilt spreads two ways, through connected oak roots and by sap beetles feeding on fungal pads produced on infected trees,” DNR forest health specialist Mike Hillstrom said.
While oak wilt affects all oak species, it is most severe in the red oak group.
Dawn Bishop, Rib Mountain property supervisor, said park staff is responding quickly to the disease.
“In the upcoming weeks, four oaks will be removed and the wood disposed of to prevent spread by beetles this spring,” Bishop said. “The area will be monitored during coming growing season to determine further management actions.”
To prevent the spread of oak wilt, the DNR recommends that pruning or oak tree removal be done between November and April 15 when the threat of transmission is lowest.
Interested individuals can read more about oak wilt by going to the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords “oak wilt.”
Wisconsin Sport Show
Advance purchase tickets are now on sale for the Wisconsin Sport Show.
The event will take place at the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 14, 15, and 16. Hours are Friday from 4-8:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $6 in advance for ages 11 and older (10 and younger are free) or $8 at the door.
Tickets are available online at www.wisportshow.com, or at these ticket outlets: Scheels Eau Claire, any Gordy’s County Market location, and the EC Leader Telegram offices on South Farwell Street, Eau Claire.
More than 120 exhibitor booths will be on display at this year’s Wisconsin Sport Show featuring: Canadian resorts and lodges, fishing charters, hunting outfitters, outdoor retail sales, RVs, ATVs, boats and pontoons, docks and lifts, conservation organizations, hunting dogs, and other outdoor-oriented businesses.
Additionally, there will be numerous fishing, hunting and dog demonstrations, an antler contest sponsored by Scheels, world champion chainsaw carvers doing live chainsaw carving demonstrations, a log cabin, and more than $6,000 in door prizes.
More information on attending or participating in this event is available at www.wisportshow.com.
The Phelps Maple Syrup Fest will hold its third annual event on Saturday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Phelps School, 4451 Old School Road, Phelps.
Celebrate the Northwoods tradition of making maple syrup by touring local sugar bushes where you will experience small-scale family hobby operations to large commercial producers. Experience tree tapping and the magical aroma of boiling sap.
A maple-themed breakfast and lunch will be served by The Maple Café. The Northwoods Children’s Museum will be providing kid-friendly activities that everyone will enjoy. There will be a maple syrup judging contest and a maple syrup presentation given by Wisconsin’s own Alice in Dairyland.
A grand prize raffle, 50/50 raffle and silent auction will be taking place with a large assortment of excellent prizes including a Husqvarna chainsaw, a sap boiling pan, a two night stay at Wild Eagle Lodge and a whole array of other prizes.
A large variety of craft vendors will be on hand offering a wide array of beautiful hand crafted products. Ten-by-10 spaces are still available. Registration is needed to reserve your space.
Forms can be found at the Phelps Chamber of Commerce website (www.PhelpsWI.us) or on their Facebook page (https://facebook.com/PhelpsMapleSyrupFest). For questions about becoming a craft vendor, contact the craft show coordinator at 715-545-2022.
Wisconsin DNR hotlines
To confidentially report suspected wildlife, recreational, and environmental violations call 800-TIP-WDNR or 800-847-9367.
To contact a customer service representative for general questions seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. call 888-936-7463.
Share your wild adventures
Big buck? Big fish? Did something interesting happen out on the lake or in the woods or even your own back yard? Share your pictures and/or story with us.
For pictures, include your first and last name, town you reside in, size of the catch, location (you can be vague if you want to protect a secret spot) and date to: The Lakeland Times, ATTN: Outdoors, P.O. Box 790, Minocqua 54548 or email us at email@example.com. Include a phone number for questions we may have and an SASE for photos to be returned.
If you’d like to share a story of your adventure, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and include a phone number with your information.
Saturday, March 8
Porcupines and Porcupets Hike: 1-3:30 p.m., North Lakeland Discovery Center, 215 County Highway W, Manitowish Waters. Join in a snowshoe adventure through beautiful forests while looking for signs of porcupine. Ages eight-plus welcome; youth must be accompanied by an adult. Start in the classroom with a short program so dress in layers for indoor/outdoor activities. Cost: $8/members; $10/non-members. Information: 877-543-2085 or www.discoverycenter.net.
Sunday, March 9
Lions Club Kids’ Fisheree: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Club 45, 4800 Old 45 Road, Conover. Ice fishing on Denton Lake. This is a kids’ ice fishing event with all holes drilled and equipment furnished. Proceeds benefit Lions club programs. Information: 715-479-6673.
Outdoor Womens Group outing: 2 p.m., Kovac Planetarium, Highway 8, east of Monico. This outing is open to spouses and guests, and reservations are required by Wednesday, March 5. The group is limited to 25 participants. The group rate is $8/person. To learn about this unique structure, visit kovacplanetarium.com. Information: Norma at 715-477-1984.
Tuesday, March 11
Northwoods Muskies Inc. meeting: 6 p.m., Fibbers Restaurant & Resort, 8679 Big St. Germain Drive, St. Germain. Social hour starting at 6 p.m., meeting at 7 p.m. Guest speaker Matt Raley will discuss when to move and when to grind it out on northern Wisconsin waters. Information: www.northwoodsmuskies.com.
Wednesday, March 12
Sno-Eagle’s Guided Snowmobile Rides: 9-11:30 a.m., 116 S. Railroad Street, Eagle River. Starting from the old train depot in Eagle River, explore area snowmobile trails (conditions permitting). Information: 715-479-5599.
Winter Bird Photography: 9-11:30 a.m., North Lakeland Discovery Center, 215 County Highway W, Manitowish Waters. Join assistant director and nature photographer Azael Meza as he shares his expertise on recommended gear, types and placement of bird feeders. Participants will go on a guided snowshoe hike for seasonal photo opportunities; includes swans, chickadees, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. Pre-registration required by March 10. Cost: $12/members; $15/non-members. Information: 877-543-2085 or www.discoverycenter.net.
Saturday, March 15
Full Moon Snowshoe: 7-8:30 p.m., North Lakeland Discovery Center, 215 County Highway W, Manitowish Waters. Travel among the trees and shadows during this night adventure along the Discovery Center trails. Designed for ages eight-plus; youth must be accompanied by a adult. Space is limited; advanced registration required. $8/members; $10/non-members. Information: 877-543-2085 or www.discoverycenter.net.
Sunday, March 16
Remove shelters: Ice fishing shelters must be removed from inland lakes north of Highway 64, Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior, and Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters.
Thursday, March 20
Season closure: Winter crow season closes.
Monday, March 17-Friday, March 21
Turkey permits on sale: Remaining spring turkey permits not issued through the permit drawing will be available for sale beginning at 10 a.m. on a first-come, first served basis through license sales outlets, and DNR service centers. In addition, licenses can be purchased on line through the DNR Web site or by phone at 877-945-4236. A complete list of units with the number of permits is available on the DNR web site.
Saturday, March 22
Manitowish River Bird Hike: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., North Lakeland Discovery Center, 215 County Highway W, Manitowish Waters. Take a two-mile hike on the Big River Trail, listening and looking for birds. This is a good time of year to see/hear pine siskins, pine grosbeaks even trumpeter swans along with resident woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches. Ages 10-plus welcome; youth must be accompanied by an adult. $5/members; $7/non-members. Information: 877-543-2085 or www.discoverycenter.net.
Monday, March 31
Licenses expire: Hunting, fishing, sports, and conservation patron licenses expire.
Otter trapping season closes in central and southern zone.
Wednesday, April 2
Brown Bag Lunch-spring phenology: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Frank B. Koller Memorial Library, 2 Highway 51 South, Manitowish Waters. Join North Lakeland Discovery Center staff for a free lunchtime program (starting at noon). Everyone is invited to bring their sack lunch (light snacks and coffee provided by the Library). Part of the Center’s Brown Bag Program, this month explore the science of phenology and more, including what can be seen in nature at this time of year and projects to get involved in to explore these changes. Information: 715-543-2085 or www.discoverycenter.net.
If you’d like to include an upcoming outdoor event in our Outdoor Calendar: Email your information to: firstname.lastname@example.org, stop by The Lakeland Times office, or mail your information to The Lakeland Times, ATTN: Outdoors, P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548.