Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Guided Auto Tour, Part I

Course Title:  Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Guided Auto Tour, Part I

Course # 18S04

Dates:  Monday, Aug. 6; Thurs. Aug. 9th; Monday, Aug. 13

Time:  9:00 am – Noon

Location:  Mercer Public Library Conference Room, (and various field sites to be announced), 2648W Margaret St. Mercer, WI

Fee: $35 (early bird discount $30 if paid before July 23rd)

Objectives:  Students will gain an understanding of the Turtle Flambeau Scenic Water Area by tracing the route of the Turtle -Flambeau Scenic Water Area Auto Tour guide book.  Topics to be covered include the introduction of the history of the flowage, fauna and flora present, its watershed, the geology, wetlands emphasizing deep water bogs, and how some tree and game species are managed within the tour area. 

Course structure:  The course will be given in 3 sessions, each 3 hours long, The course will be

facilitated and taught by Diane O’Krongly. A second session covering the remainder of the Auto Tour will be offered in 2019.

Day one– Meet at Mercer Library 9 am-12 pm

Day one no physical activity required

  1.       introduce the Map of the Auto Tour
  2.       Trace watershed on maps
  3.       Use Ground Water Models to show how the water in this watershed moves both above and below the ground.
  4.       Give a short history of the flowage – read about stop 7 of the Auto Tour
  5.       Use the Iron County 2018 Comprehensive plan starting on page 66 to learn about the Environment of the Auto Tour area: Geology, wetlands, soils, watershed, ground water, land use over time, and rare species and communities.
  6.       Make plans for the next meeting of class (carpooling)

Day 2-Meet at Fisherman’s Landing 9am-12am

  1.       Turtle-Flambeau flowage Fisherman’s Landing- hike the Hidden River Nature Trail 2 miles on maintained trail. (many ticks on trail)
  2.       Wildlife openings- openings are rare usually have to be managed with mowing or hand cutting- This is an area that a tornado created
  3.      Discuss how forest are managed differently for wildlife Basal area, snags.
  4.       Flowage history at the landing
  5.      Pine plantations
  6.       Trude Lake –  
  7.       300-foot buffer along shoreline from logging
  8.      Wildlife -cranes, eagles, loons, merlins
  9.       A natural lake- bridge
  10.      Big Island – largest island 2200 acres

DAY 3- Meet at Deadhorse Grouse Management parking lot 9 am – 11 am

  1.       Ruffed Grouse Management
  2.       Wildlife enclosure- hike to (it is close to gate)
  3.      Bog habitat- hike to less than ½ mile. Special plants, and pH
  4.       Aspen Management for grouse and other wildlife that thrive here.  Discuss how different tree species regenerate.
  5.       Little Turtle River
  6.       Frogs and toads
  7.      Osprey Management
  8.       Musky regeneration – good spawning habitat

Requirements: Students should be able to walk through variety of terrain and may experience a variety of weather conditions.  Some readings may be provided by instructors but no purchase of texts will be required.


Diane O’Krongly-Diane has a B.S. from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee majoring in Broadfield science and Biology in the School of Education.  She has taught various sciences at the high school and middle school level for 28 years. She has lived on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage since 1997 and has been on the board of the Turtle Flambeau-Trude Lake Property Owners Association for over ten years.  For many years she has been involved with water quality testing and organizing volunteers to do invasive species surveys for the flowage and Trude Lake. Other Citizen Science involvement includes: Snapshot Wisconsin (trail camera), bat monitoring, loon studies, aquatic plant surveys, identification and removal of terrestrial invasive species, and river water quality testing.