This fall, get outdoors to support Wisconsin’s state wildlife areas
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MADISON — Autumn brings scenic foliage and mild temperatures, and for those interested in enjoying the outdoors, it is a perfect time to enjoy one of Wisconsin’s wildlife areas, natural areas and state parks.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources acquired many of these properties in the first half of the 20th century to fulfill conservation and recreational needs for Wisconsin’s citizens. This year, several of these properties celebrate 70 years of habitat and wildlife conservation, including Brooklyn Wildlife Area, Colburn Wildlife Area, Deansville Wildlife Area, Kimberly Clark Wildlife Area, McKenzie Creek Wildlife Area, New Wood Wildlife Area, and Town Corner Wildlife Area.
In addition, Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. Aside from enjoying plentiful wildlife viewing and recreational opportunities, visitors can experience the marsh’s history through new hands-on Explorium exhibits. The visitor center also offers regular programs.
Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area, Sandhill State Wildlife Area and the George W. Mead State Wildlife Area also have visitor centers with regular program schedules (Crex programs; Sandhill programs; Mead programs).
Crex, Horicon, Mead and Sandhill are all premier bird and wildlife viewing places in Wisconsin. They are all important bird migration staging areas. Horicon is an international wetland of importance for Canada goose and other waterfowl migrations. Crex and Sandhill both offer organized sandhill crane watching opportunities. In addition to bird watching, the properties are all open to hiking, hunting and trapping, and some have trails that are open for bicycling and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Some offer dog training areas. People can search all DNR properties by the types of activities allowed on the DNR website by entering keywords “explore outdoors.”
To learn more about wildlife areas in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords “wildlife areas.”
Those that want to play a direct role in managing habitat and wildlife on state lands can also sponsor a state wildlife area through the new Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area program. With over 200 properties eligible for sponsorship, this program gives sponsors a unique opportunity to enhance fish and wildlife areas through such hands-on work as habitat restoration, invasive species removal, surveys and more.
For more information, search keyword “volunteer.”