The islands and surrounding shorelands on the flowage are owned by public, tribal and private landowners. Of the 233 miles of shoreline, the state owns about 50%; remaining land ownership is approximately 30% tribal, 12% national forest and 8% privately owned. Although Xcel Energy still owns and maintains the dam that creates the Chippewa Flowage, the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa operates an electrical power generation facility at the dam on the Chippewa River near Winter.
Partners for the future
In August 2000, the DNR, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS) and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (LCO) formally joined efforts under the guidance of the Chippewa Flowage Joint Agency Management Plan This plan dedicates the cooperative efforts of these three partners to the long-term management of the flowage to protect the natural features and to provide uniform regulation.
The overall management goal is "to perpetuate the undeveloped shoreline character of the Chippewa Flowage and to manage for compatible resource opportunities."
Islands, shoreland and forests
To protect the natural character of the lakeshore there are 100- and 200-foot wide shoreline protection zones on approximately half of the flowage shorelands. Deed restrictions on these lands prevent changes within these zones, including cutting of native vegetation and placement of buildings and signs.
On the islands and mainland shoreline easily visible from the water, vegetation is managed for a natural-appearing landscape. Emphasis is placed on promoting long-lived tree species, big tree character and mature vegetative communities. Management also focuses on providing nesting and brood-rearing areas for endangered, threatened and sensitive species, including suitable habitat for eagles, osprey, great blue herons and loons.
On backland areas not seen from the water, vegetation is managed for a mosaic of forest stands of different ages to provide a broad range of habitats for a variety of native wildlife and plant species.
Under the plan, protecting the natural aesthetics of the flowage for the long term is the principal management goal. Under the continued good stewardship of the three partners, the Chippewa Flowage will remain a valuable resource for its visitors and inhabitants.
Visitors must do their part to protect the flowage by complying with use regulations and by stridently protecting the natural lakeshores that draw people to the flowage. Visitors also hold an obligation to understand the use regulations and identify whether the lands are publicly owned, tribal or private.
Public access and use regulations differ between DNR, LCO and USFS managed lands. Tribal lands, except for designated public campsites, are not open to the public.