BIRCH GROVE CAMPGROUND RECEIVING MAKEOVER FOLLOWING JULY 2016 STORMS, REMAINS CLOSED UNTIL REPAIRS COMPLETE

Release Date: Aug 3, 2017  

Contact(s): Hilary Markin, 715-362-1354


Photo of Birch Grove Campsite after heavy windsWASHBURN, Wis. (August 3, 2017) – Birch Grove Campground on the Washburn Ranger District of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest was significantly damaged by a windstorm a year ago. Since then, the Forest Service has been taking steps to restore this popular campground for public use.

“The first step was working to clean up the debris from the storm and regain access to the site,” said Michelle Davalos, District Ranger on the Washburn Ranger District of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

The initial clean-up was done through a salvage timber sale this past winter to clear down and damaged trees in the campground, adjacent trail and Forest Road 435.

This spring, the Washburn District applied for and received a grant from the Chequamegon Resource Advisory Committee for $21,076 to address some of the damage. These funds are being used to convert one hand pump to a solar well, fix the access road and drainage, clear woody debris left from the logging operations and repair the two parking areas and boat ramps.

“These funds will help us get a jump start on the repairs however, there will still be quite a bit of work to do,” said Davalos. “We are currently exploring various funding options for the remainder of the work at Birch Grove.”

Two weeks ago, a landscape architect from the Eastern Regional Office of the Forest Service visited Birch Grove and met with staff on a redesign of the campground to fit with the altered landscape from the storm and the existing roads, toilets, etc. The redesign will consider things like reducing sediment flow into adjacent lakes and wetlands and other measures to protect the natural resources.

“The meeting went very well,” said Teresa Maday, Assistant Ranger in Recreation for the Washburn Ranger District. “We discussed making changes that will make this a more sustainable recreation site for many years to come.”

During repairs, the campground will remain closed to ensure public safety as crews and equipment will be working hard to get the campground reopened.  The first boat launch and toilet building at the front of the campground will remain open for public use throughout the recreation season.

The District is also looking at site improvements that will incorporate native plants and trees to restore the aesthetics within the campground and along the shorelines of West and East Twin Lakes.  As more specifics are known, the public will have an opportunity to provide input through our website at https://go.usa.gov/xRnzT, comment cards and responses to letters sent to interested individuals, partners and agencies.

“Our intent is that once the clean-up, repairs and redesign are complete the campground will better meet the needs of the public and protect the natural resources,” said Davalos.

The work is being completed by Forest Service crews, contractors, partners and volunteers.

One partnership already in motion is the Forest working with the University of Wisconsin Extension and Earth Partners to engage local tribal youth in restoration activities to establish native vegetation and monitor for paper birch regeneration within the campground area. This work will provide an educational opportunity for tribal youth to explore natural resource based careers while helping re-establish native vegetation that will make this site more aesthetically pleasing in the future.

“We look forward to continuing to grow our partnership and collaboration efforts for this project as well as across the District and Forest,” said Davalos.

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