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Ottawa National Forest plows select recreation sites this winter to allow for easier access

O-Kun-de-Kun Falls in the Ottawa National Forest.
Katie Thoresen
O-Kun-de-Kun Falls in the Ottawa National Forest.

While this winter has thus far been somewhat of a disappointment for many outdoor enthusiasts, there are still opportunities to get outside.

This year, the Ottawa National Forest decided to plow access to 18 different recreation sites throughout the forest.

“We've been experimenting with plowing over the last couple of winters and this is the first winter we were able to fully commit to it,” said Charly Loper, Public Affairs Staff Officer for the Ottawa.

Loper says staff can’t get to all sites in the Ottawa. There were a couple of different factors that went into their choices.

They prioritized sites where partners maintain trails like at Lake Ottawa and popular places like Black River Harbor and Crooked Lake in Sylvania Wilderness.

Other locations that are being plowed were heavily dependent on location.

“We are plowing several other less popular locations and chose these sites based on their proximity to roads plowed by the county. Our recreation staff don't have equipment to plow out long accesses to roads,” said Loper. “We chose sites close to plowed roads. We can't plow out every single site but we did our best to target a variety of recreational opportunities across the forest.”

The Ottawa will be plowing access to the following locations:

Courtney Lake Day Use Area and Boat Launch, Clark Lake Recreational Area, Allen Lake, Moon Lake, Golden Lake, Imp Lake, Whitefish Trail, Black River Harbor and Waterfalls, Bobcat Lake, Robinson Lake, Streusser Lake, Elbow Lake, Hagerman Lake, Kakabika Falls, Langford Lake, Lake Ottawa, North Country Trailhead access off County Rd 519, and Redboat Lake.

There are no fees for any of these recreation sites in the Ottawa National Forest during the winter months. Some of these places have a fee during the summer.

If you do decide to head out this winter, Loper recommends taking someone with you, be familiar with the area and have a reliable map, and make sure you’re dressed appropriately.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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