Peter Ourada and his brother Paul own 80 wooded acres near Antigo in Langlade County. “The property has a 30- to 35-acre swamp grown up with tag alder brush,” Ourada says. “The soil is really wet. I’ve seen grouse in there; they hide out along the edges of the tag alders. I’ve kicked deer out of the swamp in hunting season. I’ve also spotted fishers and woodcock there.”
When people think of gems, they envision bright, multifaceted objects with great value. That’s an apt description of the Grouse Enhanced Management Systems (GEMS) that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is developing across the northern part of the state.
Navarino Wildlife Area lies 30 miles west of Green Bay where prairie and agricultural land meet northern forest. The 15,000-acre area has sandy uplands and ridges with intervening marshy depressions. The West Branch of the Shioc River and the Wolf River run through the tract. Fifteen dikes impound water on 1,400 acres, creating open water areas fringed with wetlands.
The Langlade and Marathon County Forests lie in rolling to hilly terrain in northern Wisconsin. Langlade County Forest totals 130,003 acres; Marathon County Forest is 28,623 acres. The Ackley Demonstration Area includes part of both of these forests, as well as the Ackley State Wildlife Area.
This demonstration area is part of the Northern Highland-American Legion (NH-AL) State Forest, at 236,575 acres the largest state forest in Wisconsin. Established in 1925, the forest protects the headwaters of the Wisconsin, Flambeau, and Manitowish rivers in the northern part of the state. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages the land.
The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest takes in 1.5 million acres in 11 counties in northern Wisconsin. The Forest contains uplands, wetlands, rivers, streams, pine savannas, meadows, and glacial lakes. Native trees include maples, oaks, aspen, beech, basswood, ash, birch, pine, spruce, fir, and tamarack. Cedar swamps and alder thickets abound.
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge includes 42,274 acres in the glacial lake country of northwestern Minnesota. Lakes, rivers, and wetlands mix with rolling terrain in a diverse vegetative transition zone where northern hardwood forest, coniferous forest, and tall grass prairie intersect.
The Chippewa National Forest covers 1.6 million acres in northcentral Minnesota. More than 1,300 lakes, 923 miles of rivers and streams, and 400,000 acres of wetlands diversify the landscape. Common tree species are aspen, birch, maple, basswood, ash, pine, spruce, fir, cedar, and tamarack. About 75 percent of the Forest is within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.