Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BLM maps of public islands in Wisconsin

picture of a map showing public islands in the Wisconsin River
Last year at Canoecopia 2011, Derek Strohl, a Natural Resources Specialist with the BLM, had a booth full of maps. Being a sucker for maps and pictures in general, I wandered over and looked at the maps he had.  We talked for awhile and the story he had to tell was one of public land that is little known and very lightly used.  Islands.   The maps he had, revealed the publicly-owned and therefore accessible, islands, all in/on rivers and flowages in the state of Wisconsin.

Turns out that when surveyors were doing their thing back in the day, for whatever reason, they rarely went out into the rivers and did their surveyor thing on river islands.  So those islands were skipped.  Fast forward to now, et voila we, the public, can paddle out to these river and flowage islands and enjoy them.  This is a good thing.  The map at the top shows a chunk of the Wisconsin River in the center part of the state with numerous islands.  Yes it is kind of an urban thing.  But if you want a simple day trip or only have a few hours, something like this can hit that spot.  As before, no need to wait all year for an epic roadtrip to the BWCA, when you can go paddle to an island on the way home after work or on a Saturday get-away.

Here’s how to get them, via an email from Derek Strohl.  He writes:
1.Go to
2. Enter your e-mail address in the Email Address box, and enter the jumbled text in the next box.
3. When you receive an automated e-mail confirmation message, click on the link provided and reenter your e-mail address and the jumbled text.
4.After you are logged into the system, click on pub then ES then maps  then publicislands
5.Select the map or maps to download by checking the box next to each map that you want.
6. When you have checked all the maps you want, click Get Selection(s)

Derek also writes:
I understand that you may not be spending much time on the waters for the next few months, but, when you do, I would love to hear from you if you get to visit any of the BLM islands.

Happy paddling/hunting/fishing/skiing

picture of BLM Derek Strohl contact info

P.S. After learning the hard way- Don't pick too many or the zipping takes forever and the page times out.