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Otter Creek Wildlife Area

Otter Creek Wildlife Area

Otter Creek Wildlife Area ranges between 1-5 miles north/northwest of Wheeler. This property is comprised of several small parcels scattered throughout the western half of Otter Creek Township. An additional 400 acres make up the Otter Creek State Natural Area, and 347 acres are managed by the Fisheries program, bringing the total acreage for the fish, wildlife and natural areas properties to 1,039. Access to these properties can be gained through parking lots located on the south side of County Highway N, the south side of 570th Street, on the east side of 530th Street and at the end of 1150th Avenue. All other parcels required roadside parking. The 400-acre state natural area located in Section 16 is landlocked and accessible only by permission from neighboring landowners.

Many of these properties have short segments of Otter Creek flowing through them. These areas generally have marshy areas associated with them. This area of Dunn County is known for its sandy soils; much of the remaining vegetation is jackpine and oak barrens and central hardwoods forest.

The Otter Creek State Natural Area provides a small scale glimpse of what this portion of the county may have looked like several decades ago. This is one of the few remaining areas exhibiting the oak and jackpine barrens community that was once prevalent in this area.

Management Objectives

Acquisition of lands for the Otter Creek Wildlife Area occurred between 1960 and 1965. The purpose was to protect and provide public access to Otter Creek and the associated wetland complex. The 400-acre natural area was purchased as recently as 2008 as a way to protect the barrens that are disappearing from the local landscape.

Historically, the management objective was to protect the waters of Otter Creek and provide wildlife habitat for species that utilize wetlands and woods. These same objectives remain true today. In addition, protecting the barrens and increasing ruffed grouse habitat are goals for these properties.

The property is monitored for invasive species. Primary management on this property involves management of the woodlands. Use of forest management and timber sales helps maintain a healthy, vigorous woodland for wildlife. The barrens are managed using select tree removal and prescribed burning.

For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.


The Otter Creek Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Cross country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking;
  • Hunting (especially noted for deer, bear, turkey, waterfowl and small game);
  • 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.

Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area

Find out more about how to adopt this wildlife area.