Wisconsin's County Forest Program is rich in history and admirable in accomplishments. County forests originated in the Badger State and are found in only two others, Michigan and Minnesota. County forests were created to rescue lands left abandoned by cut-and-run logging and failed homesteads of the late 1800's and early 1900's.
The Clark County forest was established in 1934 and currently covers nearly 135,000 acres. This large public property is governed by the County Forest Law, which requires that it be managed for forestry purposes-including multiple uses such as recreation, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection. Clark County manages the forest resources on a sustainable basis using modern technology and progressive integrated resource management methods.
In March of 2005, the Clark County forest became certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council®(FSC® C006090) FSC 100%. Forest certification is a process in which forest practices are audited by an independent third party organization. Certification assures consumers that the wood products they purchase come from forests that are well managed and follow sustainable and ecologically sound practices.
The landscape of the county forest supports thriving forest communities and diverse timber types. Wildlife is an integral component of the biological communities and processes that occur within the Clark County forest. Literally hundreds of species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects utilize the various habitat that are found here. Hunters take deer, bear, geese, ducks, grouse, turkeys, and a variety of other game species.
One of the most notable non-game species on the forest is the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Clark County is part of a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan developed to allow land managers to conduct land use activities while protecting and enhancing Karner habitat and still comply with the Endangered Species Act.
The forest provides an abundance of recreational opportunities. There are many miles of county forest trails designated for snowmobiling, ATV's, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Additionally, numerous roads and trails throughout the forest provide access for hunting and trapping, camping, scenic driving, wildlife observation, berry picking, and fishing.
Click here for Clark County Forest Rules and Ordinances.
While providing important habitat for wildlife and meeting the needs of a recreating public, the Clark County forest will continue to be an important supplier of raw forest products for wood-using industries. Through intensive sustainable forest management, these products and amenities are provided for future generations. For further information, please call Clark County Forestry and Parks Department at (715) 743-5140.
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM | 517 Court St., Room 103 | Neillsville, WI 54456 | Phone: (715) 743-5140