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New Wood Wildlife Area

New Wood Wildlife Area

New Wood Wildlife Area is a 4,635-acre property located in the west central portion of Lincoln County. Find New Wood Wildlife Area approximately 16 miles northwest of the city of Merrill. Go west on Conservation Avenue off of County Highway E.

In 1906, near the end of the pine era, A. H. Stange of Merrill realized the untapped potential of hardwood and hemlock and acquired much of the New Wood country including today's wildlife area. In 1914, 1,600 acres comprising part of the present wildlife area was transferred to the Union Land Company of Merrill and, in 1915, to the Union Tanning Co. of New Jersey. Eastern hemlock bark played an important role in the forest and tanning industries of northern Wisconsin between 1885-1922. In 1925, the Rib Lake Lumber Co. of Taylor County bought the land and held if for their use for the next 20 years.

The wildlife area was established in 1945 to protect a significant deer yard and for the management of waterfowl, forest wildlife and public hunting purposes. Early management efforts were aimed at restoring winter cover (spruce) as well as developing small flowages for waterfowl.

The habitat type is typical northern forest, dominated by northern hardwoods with a good mix of aspen, swamp conifer and swamp hardwood. There is a 21-acre shallow water flowage located in the northeast corner of the property that has a robust wild rice bed. The New Wood River flows through the northeast corner of the property. There is also a system of walking trails and wildlife openings that are maintained for public access. The Ice Age Trail [exit DNR] meanders through the heart of the property.

The property has tripled in size in recent years due to two large acquisitions. It gets the name "New Wood" from the new wood that was grown after the fires of the early 1930s that burned off the area. For birders, there are opportunities to see ruffed grouse, hawks, bald eagles, Le Conte's sparrows, sedge wrens, alder flycatchers and sandhill cranes.


The wildlife area is managed to provide opportunities for public hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor recreation while protecting the qualities of the unique native communities and associated species found on the property. Timber sale activities will strive to improve the health and quality of the forest resource while maintaining and enhancing the property's aesthetics and wildlife habitat values. Management activities include maintenance of the aspen cover type through coppice cutting and single-tree selection in northern hardwood stands. Passive management will be used to protect unique tracts of swamp conifer and swamp hardwood along with the pristine river frontage. Populations of invasive species are controlled or eliminated by cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide treatment and/or bio-control.


The New Wood Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Camping (limited from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 only, rustic with no running water or toilets);
  • Canoeing;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking (no designated trail);
  • Hunting;
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.

Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

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