For the Nature Lover: Crex Meadows in Wisconsin

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Wisconsin© 2009 Wisconsin Department of Tourism/Bob QueenSandhill cranes and hundreds of other bird species nest in the marshes, meadows, and ponds of this 30,000-acre preserve.

102 E. Crex Ave., Grantsburg, Wisconsin

Uncommonly beautiful and richly endowed with wildlife, this nature preserve ranks among the most appealing in the country. Its open landscape encompasses 30,000 acres of grassy meadows, prairie and heathlike terrain, open pools and lakes, bogs, and marshes. There are small stands of scrubby oak and willow as well.

Sandhill cranes, white-tailed deer, and trumpeter swans are common sights, and one might see a black bear wandering in the marsh grass. More than 150 species of birds nest here, and some 275 species have been observed. Crex Meadows is a major stopover site for songbirds and waterfowl. Spring and fall are the best viewing times. The wildlife area is also home to a wolf pack called the Crex pack. Gravel roads provide excellent access, but they are not suitable for bicycles with narrow racing tires. There are four hiking trails, two of which are handicapped accessible. In winter cross-country skiers have free run of the ungroomed trails, and snowmobilers can swoosh along a 15-mile groomed trail. To avoid disturbing birds during their crucial nesting period, camping is permitted only from Sept. – Dec. A wildlife education and visitors center features displays and dioramas of the brush prairie and wetlands.

Open year-round. Camping only in fall.

(715) 463-2739

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