Willow River Wildlife Area
Willow River Wildlife Area is an 808-acre property located in western St. Croix County. The first acquisition to establish the Wildlife area was a 159-acre purchase in 1985. The property consists of restored prairie and oak savanna, as well as red and white pine plantations providing excellent recreational opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife watching. The property is adjacent to a 283-acre U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Waterfowl Production Area that provides excellent grassland habitat for upland game. The property is managed as part of the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Area, a landscape-scale wetland and grassland restoration project.
The property is located 3 miles east of Burkhardt. Follow County Highway A north out of Burkhardt, then take County Highway E east 2 miles. The property is on the south side of County Highway E. Parking areas are available off of County Highway E, 103rd Street and 100th Street.
The property is managed to provide opportunities for public hunting, trapping, wildlife observation and other nature-based outdoor recreation. Management objectives aim to maintain an open grassland community through prescribed fire, mechanical and chemical control of woody species and limited haying and grazing. Populations of invasive species are controlled or eliminated by cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide treatment and/or bio-control.
The Willow River Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:
- Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
- Falconry (by permit);
- Hunting (especially noted for pheasant, deer and waterfowl);
- Wild edible/gathering; and
- Wildlife viewing.
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