Public use of Eau Claire County forest and parks - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Public use of Eau Claire County forest and parks


Eau Claire County (Press Release) - The Eau Claire County Parks & Forest Department would like to remind hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts of the following regulations relating to public use of the Eau Claire County forest and parks.

Motor Vehicles: Licensed motor vehicles (except motorcycles) are only allowed on woods trails that are not gated, posted, or bermed to restrict travel. It is unlawful to use non-licensed motor vehicles on county forest. All motorcycle operation is prohibited. ATV operation is not allowed on county forestland except on designated ATV trails/routes and as authorized by the county's disabled access permit. It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in such a manner such as mud-bogging or hill climbing as to cause undue soil erosion to county forest or park land.

Gates on County Forestland: Areas of the county forest are gated to prohibit vehicle access by the public. Reasons for prohibiting public access include problems with garbage dumping, fires caused by arson, and for erosion control purposes. It is unlawful to operate any unauthorized motor vehicle or bicycle on roads or trails which are gated, bermed or posted to prohibit travel.

Disabled Access Permits: Free permits are available that allow the holder of a DMV or Wisconsin DNR Class A, B, or C disabled permit to use an ATV or other motor vehicle as a means of personal conveyance on county forestland. The permit must first be acquired by stopping at the Parks & Forest Department at the Eau Claire County Agriculture & Resource Center, 227 1st Street West, Altoona, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

No Hunting in County Parks or Guettinger Woods: All of the county parks, Big Falls, Coon Fork, Harstad, L.L.Phillips, Lowes Creek, Lake Altoona and Lake Eau Claire and Guettinger Woods & Wildlife are closed to hunting. For clarification of specific boundary line locations between county forestland and county parks, contact the Parks & Forest Department. It is unlawful for any person to have in his or her control, in any park,wayside or special use area, any firearm or air gun as defined in Section 939.22 (2) Statutes, unless it is unloaded and enclosed in a carrying case or any bow, crossbow, or slingshot, unless it is unstrung or enclosed in a carrying case. Hunting is allowed at the Donald L. Eisberner Memorial Forest and Canoe Landing, Hamilton Falls wayside and canoe landing, Tower Ridge Recreation Area, Evergreen Ski Area, the Eau Claire National Rifle Club Range, and other county forestland during established hunting seasons. Discharging of firearms at Tower Ridge Recreation Area at any time after the deer gun season is prohibited.

Tree Stands: It is unlawful to construct, occupy or use any elevated scaffold or other device other than portable tree stands. It is unlawful to cause damage to trees by the placement, erection or removal of tree stands or other means of getting access to trees. Portable tree stands must be removed at the end of hunting hours each day. Permanent tree stands, the use of nails into trees and screw-in type tree climbing steps are illegal to use on the county forest. Tree stands left overnight will be considered abandoned and subject to confiscation and disposal by the county.

Camping: Camping is allowed on county forestland up to a maximum of 14 consecutive nights from September 16 through April 30. A permit for camping on the forest is not required at this time. All garbage must be removed, not buried. Human waste must be buried. Camping is encouraged in Coon Fork and Harstad Campgrounds from September 16 through April 30. There is a fee of $10 per night, $15 with electricity, from September 16 to May 1 for camping at Coon Fork. Pit toilets remain open and hand pumps are available for water. Showers and firewood are not available. It is recommended campers bring their own firewood to the campgrounds if from Eau Claire County or within a 25 mile radius of the campground. It is illegal to cut any standing trees for firewood.

No Dumping of Garbage or Yard Waste: Dumping of any debris including leaves, rubbish, twigs, stumps, brush, waste materials, sand, garbage, litter, etc. on county forestland or in parks is prohibited. All garbage is to be packed out by hunters and other county forest users. No garbage is allowed to be buried.

Fires: Warming fires and cooking fires are allowed on county forestland. However, it is illegal to abandon or leave any fires unattended, to discard any matches, cigars, cigarettes, pipe ashes or any embers without first extinguishing them. Rocks should be used to outline fire-rings or a shallow pit should be dug in order to keep fires from spreading. It is illegal to cut any standing trees for firewood. Downed wood can be gathered for fires while camping in the forest. It is unlawful to disturb, vandalize, damage, deface, remove, paint or mark on any rocks, archeological or geological features, signs, or structures, to drive nails into trees, or to move, injure, or deface in any manner structures including buildings, signs, fences, tables or other county property. The picking of edible fruits, nuts and fungi is allowed on the forest.

Firewood Permits For Home Consumption: Permits are now available for individuals to cut firewood for their own personal home use from the county forest. Locations and pricing vary by area. Contact the Parks and Forest office for more information.


Free county recreation maps showing county forest and wildlife access trails open for public hunting, as well as new ATV trail/route maps, are available at the Parks & Forest Department in the Agriculture and Resource Center building at 227 1st Street West, Altoona or on the Internet at

Any questions regarding this news release can be directed to Mike Torud, Parks & Forest Acting Director at 839-4738.

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