South Branch Oconto Fishing Piers Under Construction

Contact(s): Janice McInerney

Doty Township, Wis., Mar. 02, 2021—A barrier-free fishing trail along the South Branch Oconto River is getting a makeover this winter to reduce resource impacts, improve safety and restore access for visitors with limited mobility. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest expects construction to begin this month and continue through April 30. The area is closed to visitors during construction.

More than 20 years ago, the forest worked with the Wisconsin Conservation Corps, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, local chapters of Trout Unlimited and other partners to build the quarter-mile boardwalk and series of fishing piers to provide a more accessible way to enjoy the Class I trout stream. Degradation and frost heaving in the years since have introduced safety hazards. Construction this winter will repair or replace structures to prevent frost heave, better accommodate pedestrian traffic, reduce soil erosion and meet current accessibility standards.

“We’re pleased to offer this unique recreation site on the forest,” said District Ranger Mike Brown. “The work this winter will renew its purpose as a safe and accessible experience for all visitors.”

This restoration has been made possible by a stewardship contracting agreement between the forest and The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization operating in Wisconsin. Stewardship Contracting Authority, granted in the 2014 Farm Bill, allows national forests to enter into partnerships with non-profit organizations, state and local governments, educational institutions and tribal entities to sell timber and use the proceeds of those sales to carry out projects that improve forest stand health, water quality, soil productivity and wildlife and fish habitat.

“Five years in the making, this project reflects our investment in the health and sustainability of our national forests,” said Matt Dallman, the Nature Conservancy’s deputy state director. “Through the stewardship contracting agreement with the Chequamegon-Nicolet, we’ve been able to support the forest products industry while continuing our work to protect clean air and water, wildlife habitat and the great places to enjoy the outdoors.”

The fully accessible paths and fishing piers are expected to be available again in time for the start of spring fishing season. The forest will make an announcement when construction is complete.

About the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest covers more than 1.5 million acres of Wisconsin's Northwoods across 11 counties. Nationwide, the Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. More information is available on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest’s website at or through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect the land and water on which all life depends. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have helped protect 120 million acres worldwide. In Wisconsin, the Conservancy has protected more than 236,000 acres of land and water since 1960. More information is available on the organization’s website at or through social media on Twitter.


Image - South Branch Oconto River Boardwalk and Fishing Piers

The South Branch Oconto River boardwalk and fishing piers on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest are closed for construction to improve sustainability, safety, and accessibility. USDA Forest Service photos by Brian Hinch.