2019 July Storm

Learn More about the July 2019 storm

Strong winds caused significant damage to portions of the Lakewood-Laona Ranger District on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest on July 19, 2019.  

Forest Service personnel began surveying the damage immediately following the windstorm and have been working to clear debris from recreation sites, roads, and trails on the Forest.

The Forest issued an emergency closure order for roads, trails, dispersed and developed recreation sites in the area of the storm. This order will be updated as often as needed to reflect changes as areas are cleared and reopened for the public to use. Please check the closure order and refer to the map for locations of closed roads, trails and sites.

In addition to recreation sites, all Forest Service motorized and non-motorized (hiking, biking, horseback riding) trails are closed until further notice in Langlade and Oconto counties.

The Forest Service closure order includes a map showing road closures – please adhere to all road closures and do not drive your vehicle beyond closure devices or debris. Please do not go around the gates or beyond any barricades, tape, etc. with any type of motorized vehicle or walk-in areas that are closed to look at the damage.  It is extremely dangerous as trees may still come down and it is not safe to be anywhere in the area due to the position of already snapped, down and damaged trees.  Pictures of some of the damage across the Lakewood-Laona Ranger District in Langlade and Oconto counties can be seen below and on our Facebook page.

Any additional storms in the coming days and weeks may cause further damage to Forest Service roads, trails and recreation areas. The safety of our employees and visitors is our top priority. We are using qualified saw teams as well as heavy equipment to clear fallen debris.

There is an increased risk for additional trees to come down that may have been damaged from the storm. Please use extreme caution and avoid the area if at all possible. 

Drivers are advised to practice defensive driving techniques, reduce your speed, drive with your lights on and watch for trees on roadways and other storm debris. In addition, Forest employees are out assessing areas and will be operating saws and heavy equipment as clean-up efforts continue.

Specific recreation areas open in the storm area:

Ada Lake Campground
Bagley Rapids Campground
Bass Lake Recreation Area
Bear Paw
Boot Lake Beach and Boat Landing (Campground Closed)
Boulder Lake Recreation Area
Carter Lookout
Cathedral Pines Trailhead
Farr Lake
Long Lake
Mountain Fire Tower
Mountain Lakes Dispersed Area
Nelligan Lake
Oconto Barrier Free Fishing Area
Old 32 - McCaslin Brook
Quartz Hill Trailhead
Waupee Flowage
Wheeler Lake Recreation Area

Specific recreation area closures include:

ATV/Snowmobile Trails:
All trails are closed until further notice in Langlade and Oconto County

Developed Recreation Areas that are Closed:
Boot Lake Campground (Boat Landing and Beach OPEN)
Chute Pond Overlook Trail
Green Lake Recreation Area
Jones Spring Area Trail
Lakewood CC Ski Trailhead
Maranatha Trailhead
Nicolet Nordic Trailhead
Popple Ridge Trailhead and Horse Camp

Dispersed Recreation Areas that are Closed:
Fanny Lake
Hiwanka Lakes
Jesse Lake
Knowles Dam – North Branch of Oconto River
Old Grave Road
Perch Lake
Spruce Lake
Trickle Creek
Wayne King Site
Wischer Lake

Tips for working around Blowdown with Power Lines:

This area falls within the Wisconsin Public Service Company’s service area.  These tips have been confirmed as Best Management Practices for our response crews:

  • Generator “Back Feed”

    • It is possible that homeowners running generators can inadvertently route their generated “local” power back into the lines. 

    • STOP and Listen:  if you hear a generator (or not…) consider this may be happening near your work area:  TREAT ALL POWERLINES AS IF THEY ARE ENERGIZED!

    • Urge homeowners to read the manuals for proper set up procedures to avoid back feeding the lines (generally this means shutting off the main breaker to the structure being fed).

    • See the separate handout on general generator safety.

  • Reporting downed lines in the work area

    • If you encounter lines/transformers on the ground or with trees on them, TREAT EVERY LINE AS IF IT IS ENERGIZED! 

    • Safely get the following information:

      • Closest pole number:  this is located on an aluminum tag attached to the pole about eye level. 

      • General description of the issue:  Tree on the line, down line across the road, etc.

      • General geographical location (Smith Road just west of Fire number 1234, etc.)

      • Your name as reporting party

      • Date and time of discovery

    • Call or text the information in to ICP and a list will be compiled to submit to WPS for their crews to manage.

    • Work with Operations if your saw team needs to be reassigned given the line location.

  • Restored service is happening fast!

    • WPS is expecting to have 95% of power restored to those whose infrastructure can support it by the end of the day on 7/23.

    • The next 48 hours will show drastic, rapid change with small grids coming on line every few minutes.

    • We cannot provide a map or a list of where/when the power will go live as the situation is so dynamic and the list will be outdated and unreliable.

    • TREAT EVERY LINE AS IF IT IS ENERGIZED!  Even if it was “dead” a few minutes ago – IT MAY NOT BE NOW!

Additional Resources:

Before and After

Examples of what the area looked like following a recent timber sale and what it looks like following the blowdown.

A look at the before and after of Sleeping Bear PU17

Before and after from the Twin Pine PU