|Frequently Asked Questions|
Frequently Asked Questions
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When is the wildlife are open? The wildlife areas are open all day (and night) every day. There is no charge to enter the wildlife area.
When is the visitor center open? The visitor center is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30 pm, except on major holidays. It is also open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm from April through October. It may also be open during special events and by previous arrangement outside of the normal hours of operation.
Are dogs allowed in the wildlife areas? Yes. Dogs are allowed. They must always be under the control of the owner, and between April 15 and July 31 they must be on a leash. If you are looking for a place to do water training with your dog, the boat landing on Phantom Lake Trail is a good spot. Be advised that there are wolves and other wild animals within the wildlife areas, and if your dog gets lost, it may become prey. Also, there are various traps set during the trapping season, so keep your pets close.
Are horses allowed in the wildlife areas? Wisconsin state policy is that horses are allowed only on the roads that cars are allowed on on state wildlife areas. Crex Meadows, Fish Lake, Danbury and Amsterdam Sloughs Wildlife Areas are owned by the state of Wisconsin. Horses are NOT allowed on the hiking and hunter walking trails, or the firebreaks, within the wildlife areas. The nearby Governor Knowles State Forest has several miles of dedicated horse trails. For more information, click here.
Where can I hike in the wildlife areas? You may hike anywhere in the wildlife areas, on or off trail, with the exception of the refuge areas, which are clearly marked with signs. There are many hunter walking trails, as well as designated hiking trails. There is a 1 mile trail behind the visitor center, and a 1.5 mile trail at the rest area. Walking on the many miles of roads is another option, which can be quite rewarding, allowing you to see and hear many animals you may have missed while driving the roads.
Can I ride a bike in the wildlife areas? YES! But be aware that most of the roads are gravel, and thin street tires will not work well on these roads. There are several miles of paved roads as well. Stop in at the visitor center for more info on a good biking route.
Can I camp in the wildlife areas? Camping is allowed only at the rest area on the north end of Crex Meadows Wildlife area. The camping season is from September 1 through December 31. Campers should register at the Visitor Center either before they set up camp or the next morning if they arrive after the center closes. The camping fee is $5 per vehicle, or $4 for members of the Friends of Crex or hunters with a valid Wisconsin hunting license. Camping is NOT allowed anywhere else on the properties. There are other places to camp in the region, including the Governor Knowles State Forest and canoe/walk-in sites along the St. Croix River.
Where do the cranes come from? In the fall, Sandhill Cranes gather at Crex Meadows and the surrounding areas (we have about 15 percent of all the Greater Sandhill Cranes here in western Burnett County in October), where they feed in the crop fields during the day and roost in the sedge marshes at night, until the marshes ice over - usually by the middle to end of November, then they head south, stopping over in Illinois and Indiana, and finally arriving along the gulf coast in Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle where they spend the winter. Sandhill Cranes nest from southern Wisconsin north, up into the UP of Michigan and as far north as central Canada, south of Hudson Bay, in sedge meadows. There are many pairs nesting at Crex Meadows and Fish Lake Wildlife Areas each summer.
The cranes at Crex Meadows are the Greater Sandhill Crane, and there are about 80,000 of them. The Lesser Sandhill Crane is another sub-species that winters on the Texas coast, migrates through Nebraska and the Dakotas, and nests on the Arctic tundra far to the north. They stand about a foot shorter than our Greaters, and their population tops several hundred thousand.
Where can we see the Sandhill Cranes? In the spring, Sandhill Cranes return to the meadows early, usually in mid-march to early April, when the begin building their nests. They may be found in pairs, or sometimes with last year's young. Once these pairs begin to nest, the young from previous years leave and find other "bachelor" cranes to hang out with for the summer. Once the eggs hatch, the parents will lead their babies further into the sedge meadows to evade predators while their babies grow. In the fall, the cranes gather in the meadows at night and fly to the crop fields nearby to feed during the day. A great place to see the cranes at Crex Meadows during the fall gatherings is along Main Dike Road in the mornings and evenings as the cranes depart or arrive back to the sedge meadows to roost.
Is hunting allowed in the wildlife areas? Hunting is allowed throughout all the wildlife area on state-owned land, with the exception of the refuge areas within Crex Meadows and Fish Lake Wildlife Areas (the Fish Lake refuge is closed only during the migrating waterfowl hunting seasons but opens after that time for other species). See the hunting regulations for the species you are hunting for details. Regulations can be found on the Wisconsin DNR website.
Is trapping allowed in the wildlife areas? Trapping is allowed throughout all the wildlife area on state-owned land, with the exception of the refuge areas within Crex Meadows and Fish Lake Wildlife Areas. See the hunting regulations for the species you are trapping for details. Regulations can be found on the Wisconsin DNR website.
Are motorized boats allowed on the flowages within the wildlife area? Motorized boats are allowed in the wildlife area
Are ATV's allowed in the wildlife areas? Except for winter Snowmobile/ATV trail use, ATVs are NOT ALLOWED within the wildlife areas. Some townships allow ATVs on paved roads, but they are not allowed on township roads that go through state property within those townships. This means that ATV's are not allowed even on paved roads within the wildlife areas even if the township allows ATVs. Roads within the townships that allow ATVs are clearly marked that ATVs are allowed. The ONLY exception to this is when a hunter with a handicapped hunting permit uses an ATV to hunt from.
Is snowmobiling allowed in the wildlife areas? When conditions are favorable, snowmobile trails through the wildlife areas are open to public use from December 1 through March 31. Please refer to Trails & Licensing for maps and regulations, and go to Trail Conditions for current conditions. Snowmobiles are NOT ALLOWED off the trails - or along the roads or other trails within the wildlife areas.
***This website is brought to you by the Friends of Crex, a non-profit organization
dedicated to SUPPORTING WILDLIFE AND WILDLIFE EDUCATION at the crex meadows complex***
FRIENDS OF CREX, INC. 102 EAST CREX AVENUE, GRANTSBURG WISCONSIN 54840 (715) 463-2739 www.crexmeadows.org
All photos are used by permission and are the sole copyright of the photographer