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Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Reopens to the Public


The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, spanning over 1.5 million acres of pristine wilderness in northern Wisconsin, has fully reopened to the public after temporary closures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors can now once again enjoy the vast recreational opportunities and natural beauty that this magnificent forest offers.

Phased Reopening Process

The National Forest embarked on a phased reopening process over the past few months, gradually resuming access to various areas and facilities. Following the lifting of all remaining restrictions, the entire forest is now open for public use.

Safety and Health Precautions

While the forest is fully reopened, visitors are strongly encouraged to adhere to health and safety guidelines to protect both themselves and others. These guidelines include:

  • Maintaining a safe social distance of at least six feet from other people.
  • Wearing a face covering in areas where social distancing is difficult.
  • Washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer.
  • Staying home if feeling sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Respecting all posted signs and regulations.

Recreational Opportunities

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of recreational activities:

  • Camping: Visitors can choose from numerous developed and primitive campsites throughout the forest, ranging from cozy tent sites to RV hookups.
  • Hiking: Over 700 miles of scenic trails wind through the forest, catering to all skill levels and interests.
  • Biking: Designated bike trails meander along serene lakeshores, through dense forests, and over rolling hills.
  • Fishing: Multiple rivers, streams, and lakes provide ample opportunities for fishing, with diverse species including walleye, bass, trout, and northern pike.
  • Boating: The vast lakes within the forest are perfect for boating, kayaking, and canoeing.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The forest is home to a rich array of wildlife, including deer, black bears, wolves, bald eagles, and numerous bird species.
  • Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: During winter months, visitors can explore the forest on designated snowshoe and cross-country ski trails.

Accommodations and Services

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest boasts a variety of accommodations and services to enhance the visitor experience:

  • Visitor Centers: Forest Service visitor centers provide information, maps, and exhibits about the forest's natural and cultural history.
  • Cabins: Rustic cabins are available for rent, offering a cozy and secluded retreat in the wilderness.
  • Lodges and Resorts: Several lodges and resorts located near or within the forest provide comfortable accommodations and amenities.
  • Dining: Restaurants and cafes within or near the forest offer dining options for visitors.
  • Camp Stores: Camp stores stock basic supplies and camping gear for those who need it.

Economic Impact

The reopening of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is expected to have a significant positive impact on the local economy. Tourism and recreation generate substantial revenue for businesses and communities in the surrounding area. The forest also supports jobs in forestry, recreation, and hospitality industries.

Environmental Conservation

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest plays a vital role in environmental conservation. Its diverse ecosystems provide habitat for numerous plant and animal species, and its forests help regulate the climate, absorb carbon dioxide, and protect water quality. Responsible recreation and adherence to forest regulations are essential for maintaining the ecological integrity of this valuable natural asset.

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