Nov 1, 2018
On this episode of Bayfield County Wild, co-hosts Nancy Christopher and Mary Motiff, Director of Bayfield County Tourism, talk about all the ways to explore and enjoy the ½ million acres of public lands and waterways in Bayfield County. Our special guest is Jennifer Maziasz, the recreation manager for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in the Washburn Ranger District. Jen highlights top recreation areas in the forest and some of its unique ecosystems. Plus, the holidays are almost here! Mary tells us about the shopping opportunities and special events for November in Bayfield County.
The People’s Land
Here’s a wild stat: Not only is it the 2nd biggest county in the state, but half the land in Bayfield County is in public ownership! With all that open space to explore, it is a natural playground for recreation and solitude. There are more than 35 hiking trails, hundreds of miles of snowmobile and ATV trails, and of the 1,000 inlands lakes in Bayfield County, more than half have public access for watersports and winter fun. The county is home to many national treasures as well, including the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore & Gaylord Nelson Wilderness Area, Frog Bay Tribal National Park, the Iron River National Fish Hatchery and the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge.
One of Bayfield’s most recognized treasures are the Sea Caves, part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Public access is available on land and by water. The hiking trail at Meyer’s Beach takes visitors above the sea caves, where the caves can be seen any time of year. In the winter, when the water freezes, visitors can sometimes walk out on the ice to the sea caves. There are three ways to check on sea caves’ ice conditions: the official Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page, the Ice Line at 705-779-3397, extension 3 and the National Apostle Islands National Lakeshore website.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Jennifer Maziasz is the recreation manager for the northernmost district of the forest. An astounding 83 percent of Bayfield County is forested and according to Jen, you can find a little bit of everything in the woods - miles of trails for motorized snowmobiles, ATVS, hiking, biking and horseback riding, waterfalls and unique ecosystems like the Moquah Pine Barrens. A globally imperiled ecosystem, the Barrens are home to lots of wildlife including the sharptail grouse and also wildflowers that provide important habitat to monarch butterflies and migratory birds. It’s also one of the best places for blueberry picking in the summer.
Jen tells us about the Valhalla Recreation Area with its groomed cross-country ski trails, ATV and snowmobile trails and trails for the increasingly popular fat bike riding. She also highlights Long Lake, a quiet, beautiful lake popular for fishing, swimming and paddling.
Hunting and fishing is allowed in the national forest but does require a permit from the Wisconsin DNR. While most of the forest can be publicly accessed, there are some restrictions that visitors should be aware of. To find out about what is public and what is not, fees, permits, maps and anything else, Jen advises visitors to stop by the Washburn Ranger District, the WI DNR station in Ashland or the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center. There is also information on the website for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest at www.fs.usda.gov/cnnf.
Nov. 2-3: Red Wine Weekend at Old Rittenhouse Inn
Nov. 2-6: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Mt. Ashwaby Ski and Board Swap
Nov. 3: Holidaze Wine & Spirits Dinner
Nov. 18: Oulu Glass Holiday Show
Nov. 23 – Dec. 10: Holiday Shop Hop
Nov. 23: Holiday Tree Lighting at Garmisch Resort
Nov. 24: Island Holiday Boutique
Next month, we’ll talk to Sue Vojacek about Oulu Glass Gallery and their holiday glassblowing demonstrations.
The Antique Garden Inn welcomes you to the north woods of Wisconsin for a special experience of quiet escape mixed with as many varied activities as you care to indulge in. There are footpaths winding through 9 acres of stunning forest with stately white pines, hemlocks, cedars and numerous wildlife species. On the remaining 4 acres, the house and outbuildings are surrounded by gardens, wildflowers, a small orchard and wild berry bushes, creating a haven for birds and butterflies.
The Timber Baron Inn is your peaceful forest get-away. Enjoy stunning views of Lake Superior, Pikes Bay, and the Pikes Creek Valley. The Inn sits at the foot of Mt. Ashwabay, providing guests premiere access to the CAMBA mountain biking trails along with groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.
Casual gourmet dining at its finest, the Rookery’s ever-changing menu features weekly fresh fish specials, beef & bison steak, specialty salads, house-made soups, and other creative dishes incorporating fresh seasonal ingredients from local producers. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are the best you’ll find anywhere. Plus, a full bar with a great selection of regional microbrews, premium liquor, and more than three dozen fine wines.