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Namekagon Barrens State Wildlife Area
The 6,450-acre Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA) is one of the last remnants of pine/oak barrens. It lies in the northeast corner of the county, adjacent to the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers. The NBWA is commonly referred to as the “Barrens”, but it is anything but barren. It has a high diversity of native grasses, flowers, butterflies and wildlife. The dry uplands of the pine/oak barrens are interspersed with lowlands, potholes, and the headwaters of a small trout stream. The NBWA is most known for the highest population of sharp-tailed grouse and the best spring dance viewing opportunities in Wisconsin. By managing for sharp-tailed grouse, which require at least 5,500 acres of open landscape, the DNR ensures a home for more special concern species such as the upland sandpiper, Blanding’s turtle and gray wolf. The NBWA is separated into a North and South Unit, which is separated by almost three miles. The North Unit is flat to gently rolling and be can be accessed by driving Highway 35 north of Danbury and then east on St. Croix Trail for 7 miles. After visiting the North Unit, drive west on St. Croix Trail and south on Namekagon Trail to get to the South Unit. The South Unit is characterized by steep topography with a scenic overlook.
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