Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Black River State Forest

Some days the wanderlust just overcomes me. Yesterday was such a day. I got out my maps and looked for parks, rivers, forests, anyplace I've never been before, within a days drive. Persuaded Mrs T to "go for a ride." Let's go!

Two hours northeast, on the Wisconsin road map, was a large area labeled Black River State Forest. Just north of east west Interstate 90 near, naturally enough, Black River Falls, Wisconsin. We stopped for Sunday dinner at the smallest small town cafe I could find in the area. Hot roast beef sandwiches, with mashed potatoes and gravy, along lemon pie. All of this for eleven dollars. There were about twenty people eating after church dinner there, smiling at us and wondering, "who in the heck are those strangers and where did they come from?"

The forest was immense with many campgrounds and trails for different uses. As a matter of fact, the Wisconsin DNR says the forest is managed for "multi-use." This means selective timber cutting, conservation of soil and water as well as recreational usage. We spent 5 hours getting acquainted with the forest, its roads and trails.

Some highlights:
A 350 foot deep former iron mine pit which today is Wisconsins most popular scuba diving venue.
Some very nice campgrounds.
Many hiking trails, which I am sure will be great for birding during the spring and fall migration.
Many ATV trails. I am not a big fan of these ugly and noisy machines, ripping up the countryside. Still, the ATV's were restricted to their own trails
The uglyMr. In The Velvet. One of the biggest bucks I've seen in some time, along with several does and fawns.

Mr. Velvet
Cranberry bogs throughout. These would be quite a site to revisit in the fall, when the fields are flooded and the red berries float to the surface to be harvested. We stopped by the water filled ditches surrounding the bogs and watched dozens, perhaps more than a hundred, cedar waxwings catching insects.

Some great sights here. They even have a tower to view from.

Black River Forest. We enjoyed getting acquainted.


  1. Great photos. We are always looking for new places to camp. This looks like a great one.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day.

    I saw a nice buck just a little way down from the house. Wish I'd had my camera.

  3. Kia ora TB,
    Thank you for the virtual visit to my home state. There are times in these photos I can literally smell late summer Wisconsin and so many memories come flooding back.

  4. How fun to just set out looking for something new. Maybe we all should try that!

  5. That looks like a great way to spend a day! Nice photos too!

  6. Great post. It is always great to get away and enjoy a day exploring the unknown. I call it "Travels of an old, fat, bald man." They are well worth the effort.

  7. It's always fun to check out new spots, and it looks like you found a nice one. Sounds like you had a fun day!

  8. Hi TB, Black River Forest sounds like a wonderful place. Sounds like my kind of place to visit. I saw some cranberry bogs many years ago when we were south of Boston, on our way to Cape Cod.

    I'd love to go birding in that area. Cedar Waxwings love water and berries. SO--they are in a great place...

    I totally agree with you about ATV's---but I know that there are some people who enjoy that stuff...

    Thanks for sharing. This will go on my LONG list of places to visit. Think there are any waterfalls there????

  9. Thanks for the info...put it on my Wisconsin list..we seem to be out there at least once a year!

  10. Seeing Mr. Velvet would definitely made the trip worth it! I was just in Wisconsin a few weeks ago for log home training - really thought it was beautiful!
    P.S. Love your blog header!!

  11. I wish I could still 'just get up and go". Those fields would be spectactuar with their red berries. I hopw you are planning to go back and take some pictures.

  12. Do you know of a good bird song ID Web site? I hear so many beautiful songbirds and I'm frustrated that I can't ID a single species. Well, I know my robins and cardinals but that's about it.

    I would've loved tagging along with you on your trip to Black River State Forest. Many states have excellent parks and forests that are underutilized by their respective citizens.

  13. Saw that place on the map today as we were planning our trip to MN.
    I think this time we will bypass it, though it sounds lovely ..and i bet I would see some birds!
    Hope to see you soon!

  14. Pretty area! Looks very similar to Necedah NWR that I visited last summer.

  15. I could't think of a nicer way to spend a day.

  16. Nice. I have been near there, but not at that park. Maybe I can visit this fall?