Forest Road

Dirt road through a Northern Wisconsin forest.

Roads in the National Forests of Northern Wisconsin usually originated in one of two ways.  Either they are old railroads that were carved into the wilderness to remove massive Eastern White Pines, or they were roads made for horses and logging sleds to facilitate the removal of massive Eastern White Pines.  Later the roads were used for removing other species of trees when their logging became more profitable.  During and shortly after the logging days the roads were popular for hunters and trappers, later hikers, and this photographer.
The opening of these roads allowed access for trappers to remove the last wolves, fishers, and pine martens from the state.  Thankfully all have returned, the fishers and pine martens were re-introduced, and the timber wolves wandered back into the state from Minnesota.  All are now thriving, except the pine marten is not doing so well.

Most of the old logging roads became abandoned to motorized or horse traffic, but when the second or third-growth forest’s timber becomes marketable they once again see logging traffic.  The road in the accompanying photo remains open to all legal motorized traffic, but I would recommend something with a high ground clearance, because large puddles can hide bumps and humps that could damage or snag the bottom of a car, leaving the occupants stranded.
If your car shouldn’t travel down such a road, park it, hop out, take a walk and bring the camera along.  It is harder to get lost while traveling these old roads than it is striking your own path through, what can at times seem to be a featureless landscape.   Nevertheless take care as they can fork and intersect with many other similar dirt roads.

Photo was taken with a Sony A65V and Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC

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