Two Chippewa Flowage campsites to be restored to natural habitat as part of Foundation-funded project
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin grant will help the DNR rehabilitate two heavily used former campsites on Chipmunk and Weiner Islands
The Chippewa Flowage in Sawyer County is among Wisconsin’s most beloved natural areas for outdoors recreation, including paddling, picnicking, hiking and camping. At the end of 2014, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe closed two campsites—one on Weiner Island and the other on Chipmunk Island—due to increasing erosion from years of heavy human traffic. This summer DNR will be working with LCO Conservation, the U.S. Forest Service and the Conservation Youth Corps to restore the campsites back to their natural habitat in part through the second disbursement of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Hughes Jeffords Chippewa Flowage Conservation Fund.
“Throughout the years, our families have experienced and appreciated the Chippewa Flowage,” said Chris Jeffords, who generously created the fund with his wife Patricia Jeffords, and whose parents lived on the Chippewa Flowage for 26 years. The fund is named after both Chris and Patricia’s parents, who enjoyed the outdoors, wildlife and other lake activities. “It was our intent to leave a legacy for our family and the many visitors who come here so they can continue to enjoy the character of what we feel is one of the last unique jewels of the north.”
The 18 public campsites on the Chippewa Flowage are heavily used and many of the sites are exhibiting increasing signs of erosion from natural and human factors, which results in the occasional relocation of sites to allow for rehabilitation. The grant from the Hughes Jeffords Chippewa Flowage Conservation Fund will help the DNR purchase materials to re-vegetate sensitive areas using native perennials and shrub species in partnership with the Conservation Youth Corps. They will also install signs to educate visitors about the restoration area and to do some minor restoration at a campsite at Cedar Swamp. Two campsites—Eagle Point, a DNR site, and Arrowhead Island, an LCO site—will replace the two closed sites.
“These sites have been very popular over the years and erosion and soil compaction have reached a point where we felt it was time to close the sites for rehabilitation,” said Dan Yankowiak, DNR Chippewa Flowage property manager. “We want to restore the sites to a natural state and blend them back into the natural shoreline character of the Chippewa Flowage.”
The Chippewa Flowage encompasses more than 15,000 acres of lakes and forests and protects more than 200 miles of mostly undeveloped shoreline. It was created in 1924 by the damming of the Chippewa River and now supports an important fishery and wilderness area, and provides habitat to a number of wildlife species including bear, otter and whitetail deer.
“The Chippewa Flowage provides endless ways for individuals to connect with nature, instilling in them a strong conservation ethic,” said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. “We are so grateful to Chris and Patricia Jeffords for establishing an endowment fund that will ensure that future generations have a similar experience in this special place.”
The Foundation announces donor-advised competitive grants, including the Hughes Jeffords Chippewa Flowage Conservation Fund, in December of each year. Interested organizations can ask for more information on how to apply by emailing [email protected].
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Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin works with donors to set-up permanent endowments for places or conservation causes dear to them. These 68 endowments benefit conservation needs throughout Wisconsin, including those at the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, Brule River, Devil’s Lake State Park, Cherokee Marsh, Lower Wisconsin River, Parfrey’s Glen and other public lands; as well as organizations such as the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Learn more at www.wisconservation.org. In 2014, the Foundation provided more than $140,000 to the DNR for work on public lands management and rare and endangered species.
Lindsay Renick Mayer
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin