Description - The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife manage seven wildlife refuges and two wetland districts in Wisconsin. Fox River National Wildlife Refuge is an important breeding and staging area for the greater sandhill crane. Horicon Marsh is referred to as the Everglades of the North while being declared a Wetland of International Importance by the Convention of Wetlands. The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge teems with woodlands, prairies, and wetlands in central Wisconsin. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge lies in the floodplain of the Upper Mississippi River providing important resting and feeding habitat for migratory birds. Leopold Wetland Management District manages 41 waterfowl production areas while the Whittlesey refuge has enormous value to the fish, wildlife, and people of the Chequamegon Bay. The St. Croix Wetland Management District manage 38 waterfowl production zones and 19 conservation easements. Gray wolves, trumpeter swans, and Karner blue butterflies (endangered) all breed within the District. Gravel Island and Green Bay NWRs are protected lands but do not offer access to the public.
- Wisconsin's U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife properties provide excellent habitat for waterfowl, other bird life and an abundance of wildlife. The majority of the refuges offer opportunities for bird watching, viewing wildlife, nature study and hiking.
The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 for the protection of migratory waterfowl. The Horicon Marsh Visitor Center is open year round Monday through Friday and open weekends in the fall, providing details on an array of recreational activities from hiking and biking to auto touring and winter sports. The sights seen while touring the refuge on foot, skis or boat evidence Necedah's success in preserving and restoring habitat for wildlife and people. Over 60,000 visitors come to Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge each year to explore river, prairie, and bottomland forest habitats. Canoeists and those with electric motors can ply the quiet wetlands unveiling excellent bird watching opportunities. Located adjacent to the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge, guests can tour the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center which is situated on the Bayfield Peninsula providing superb views of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Bird watching in the St. Croix Valley is extensive due to the area being an important corridor for neotropical migrants. Fox River NWR is unstaffed (managed by Horicon NWR) and is only open for controlled deer hunts.
Recreation - Popular activities at refuges include hiking, fishing, nature study and wildlife viewing.
Climate - Wisconsin experiences four distinct seasons with the average annual temperature varying from 39 degrees F in the northwest to 50 degrees F in the southeast. Great Lakes Michigan and Superior tend to make summers cooler and winters milder close to shore. Average January temperatures range from 12 to 16 degrees F (-11 to -9 degrees C) in the northwest to 22 degrees F (-6 degrees C) in the southeast. Average July temperatures in the northwest range from 70 to 85 degrees F (21 to 26 degrees C). However during the past several decades, average temperatures have risen in Wisconsin changing the imagery of the state. The winter economy has slowed considerable due to the lack of consistent snow, and where maples and aspens set the fall foliage a blaze, now duller elms, oak, ash and pine dominate the woodlands.
Wisconsin's National Wildlife Refuges and Wetland Districts are located throughout most areas of the state.