Douglas County Wildlife Area
Douglas County Wildlife Area is located between Solon Springs and Gordon in Douglas County. The property is approximately 4,005 acres of pine barrens.
Find it by going 3 miles south of Solon Springs on Highway 53 (or 3 miles north of Gordon on Highway 53), west on County Road M about 3/4 mile, then northwest on Bird Road for about 1/4 mile to the information kiosk.
The Friends of the Bird Sanctuary Inc. was formed to work in partnership with the DNR to protect and preserve the Douglas County Wildlife Management Area. The group conducts education programs and other activities. Visit their website for more information.
In 1925, the Northern States Amateur Field Trial Association (NSAFTA) conducted its first dog trial on land that would become the Douglas County Bird Sanctuary in 1935. NSAFTA held its first U.S. Chicken Champion Dog Trial in 1937. Trials continued until the early 2000s. When this trial began, prairie chickens were present on the property, giving the trials their name. Prairie chickens are no longer present in the area.
In 1947, the Wisconsin Conservation Commission established the "Douglas County Grouse Management Area." The purpose of the property was for research and experimental work on sharp-tailed grouse, prairie chickens and bobwhite quail. In 1948, the state entered into the first of several successive land leases with Douglas County.
The property is managed for a savanna-type plant community called pine barrens habitat. Savannas are plant communities dominated by grasses and interspersed with trees. In the pine barrens ecosystem, the shrub component is much more extensive than in other savanna types. Pine barrens are a transitional ecosystem between forest and prairie, born of fire and maintained by fire. While sharp-tailed grouse is a focus species of pine barrens habitat and this property's management objectives, many other plant and animal species require or use this habitat type to meet their life cycle requirements.
For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.
The Douglas County Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:
- Auto travel;
- Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
- Dog trials and training area;
- Dog kennels*;
- Horse trails;
- Horse stables and corrals*;
- Hiking (North Country Trail);
- Wild edibles/gathering; and
- Wildlife viewing.
* Use of the clubhouse, horse stables and corrals, and dog kennels must be arranged through the Douglas County Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department, Solon Springs, 715-378-2219.
Download a map of this property.
If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.
Find out more about how to adopt this wildlife area.