Welcome to the Deer Fly Trail area of the Chippewa County Forest. This area comprises approximately 8,589 of the total 33,653-acre county forest. Glaciated in the past, this area is a portion of the terminal moraine of the Chippewa Lobe of the Great Wisconsin Glacier. It is characterized by rolling hills, sharp ridges, numerous lakes and streams, and supports a wide variety of plants and animals. Due to variations in topography and glacial soils, many forest types have evolved side by side. Glacial and bog lakes fill the lowest depressions. Other lowland areas may be occupied by tag alder swamps, swamp conifers, swamp hardwoods or a mixture of these. Aspen, oak or northern hardwoods occupy upland areas.
The County Forest, administrated by both the County and the State DNR, originated largely from land forfeited for tax delinquency in the 1930's. Administration and supervision is provided by the County Land, Forest and Parks Committee and the County Forest Administrator. DNR foresters and game managers provide technical assistance to ensure proper recreation, wildlife and timber management.
The accompanying map shows the forest roads and major trails in the Deer Fly area. Gated or non-gated trails branch from these main roads. An orange gate signifies a limited use access trail. These include mowed hunter walking trails, snowmobile trails and timber-access trails used by loggers. Regular vehicular traffic is prohibited on these trails to preserve the trails' surface. This facilitates mowing, seeding and general trail maintenance. Mowed and seeded trails benefit deer, grouse and other forms of wildlife that use forest openings. Closing these trails to vehicles also promotes undisturbed hunting, hiking and nature study. Snowmobile trails (normally gated) are seasonally open for winter use. Other trails not gated, may be short, dead-end spurs into the forest, used by loggers for access.
Timber production is a primary function of the County Forest. Forest management involves two basic methods of harvest; clear cutting and selective thinning. Aspen, birch and oak are sun loving species and clear cutting is the most practical method for regeneration. Their intolerance to shade makes it impossible for them to compete with more tolerant species such as maple and other northern hardwood species. When over-mature aspen, birch and oak die, they are quickly replaced by tolerant species and the forest reverts to the less desirable species, for timber production and less beneficial to our more popular game species. When aspen, birch and mature oak are clear-cut, they quickly take advantage of the full sunlight and perpetuate themselves with young vigorous growth. From the scenic or aesthetic viewpoint, clear cutting may seem drastic, especially for the first few years. A closer look, however, will reveal an infant stand making maximum use of the full sunlight. Clear cutting small acreage of aspen ensures a continued rotational supply of this important pulp species. When these newly cut areas are interspersed with older stands, optimum habitat for a variety of wildlife species is obtained. Deer and, especially, grouse use aspen stands at nearly every stage of development, not to mention the nesting habitat provided for many species of songbirds. In areas where pole oak, hardwoods and pine predominate, thinnings are made to improve the quality and vigor of the existing stand. This ensures maximum attainable production and quality of timber, and assures that the healthiest trees remain to produce mast and nesting sites valuable to many species of wildlife.
The County Forest is your to enjoy. Recreational opportunities include hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and cross-country skiing. Some sections are seasonally designated as ATV routes and snowmobile trails. Other opportunities include firewood cutting and logging. Please be careful with fire and avoid littering. For more information contact: Chippewa County Land Conservation and Forest Management Department, 711 North Bridge Street, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729 or call us at (715) 726-7920.