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Barron County, Wisconsin -

Welcome to the Barron County Forest
John Cisek
Barron County Forest Administrator

The mission of the Barron County Forest is to manage, conserve, and protect the natural resources of the county on a sustainable basis for present and future generations.

The Barron County Forest, located in the north western part of the state, lies primarily within the Central Plain physiographic region. With small areas in the southwest corner of the county in the Western Upland physiographic region and in the "Blue Hills‟ in the Northern Highlands physiographic region of Wisconsin. The topography of the forest and surrounding area is of glacial origin. The glaciers eroded hilltops and filled valleys, thus reducing relief. Elevations range from 1,620 feet above sea level in the eastern part of the county to 1,000 feet in the Southwest. The terrain ranges from hilly to gently rolling throughout the forest.

Historically much of Wisconsin was covered with magnificent stands of pine, hemlock, and hardwoods on the highlands, and cedar, spruce, and balsam on its lowlands. From 1860 to about
1910, these forests provided raw material for a thriving lumber industry. The need to supply lumber for a growing nation, and the lack of sound forest management, resulted in over-harvests of the forests and degradation of the landscape. Immigrants rushed to these newly cleared lands, hungry for a place to farm and build their lives. But in just a few years, the soils gave out, catastrophic fires occurred, and many people were forced to seek their fortunes elsewhere. The land was left exhausted and tax delinquent. The Wisconsin County Forest program originated from the taking of these tax delinquent lands.

The Barron County Board approved the establishment of a county forest, to be made up largely of county-owned lands in the townships of Bear Lake, Cedar Lake, Doyle, and Maple Plain. The County Board approved the entry of 3,242 acres of forested lands under the Forest Crop Law in 1940 after a presentation by Fred Wilson, DNR‟s Superintendent of Cooperative Forestry, to the board. Ralph Hill, County Clerk and County Forest Administrator from 1943 to 1970 increased forest acreage from 3,980 acres to nearly 11,000 acres during his terms in office. A County Zoning Ordinance and a County Forest Ordinance were both passed in 1978. The Barron County Forest covers over 16,000 acres contained in 14 separate management compartments.

Barron County is a member of the Wisconsin County Forests Association, Inc. (WCFA). This Association was incorporated on May 15, 1968 under Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes, without stock and not for profit. The WCFA Board of Directors is composed of ten delegates elected from the County Forestry Committees who are members of the Association. This corporation provides a forum for consideration of issues and policies that are common to all of the county committees responsible for their respective County Forest programs, including those programs encompassed under s.28.11 and Chapter 77, Wis. Stats. WCFA also provides leadership and counsel to County Forest administrators and forestry committees through regular meetings and active committees on legislative and recreational issues.

Attached Document or File Wisconsin County Forest Association  
2017 Barron County Timber Sales and Bid Results


Turtle Creek Handicapped Accessible Fishing Piers

Forest Access



Permits are required for certain activities on the County Forest.



Barron County Forest Plans
Here you will find documents relating the Barron County Forest 15 Year Plan, Barron County Forest / DNR Partnership Meetings, Annual Work Plans and Accomplishments. Read more...

Forest Compartment Maps

Areas of Interest

Barron County contains a number of unique and interesting areas that provide visitors to the forest an opportunity to witness and experience all that the natural world has to offer.


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