Sunday, August 18, 2013

Explore national fish hatchery on day hike

Iron River National Fish Hatchery. Photo courtesy of USFWS.

Interpretive trails, visitor center make for fun afternoon

A day hiking trail north of Iron River, Wis., offers the opportunity to learn about the lives of fish and the importance of national fish hatcheries.

Three miles of trails cut through 1,200 acres of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Iron River National Fish Hatchery facility. A 2.4-mile segment of those interpretive trails with a stop at the visitor center can make for a fun and educational day.

Pine barrens
To reach the hatchery, take County Road A north from Iron River for 6.6 miles. Turn left/east on Fairview Road. The hatchery entrance is in one mile.

Park at the visitor center. Continue walking south on the road you drove in on. After about 0.2 miles, turn right onto a jeep trail heading southeast. The trail enters a wooded area.

The fish hatchery’s location should come as no surprise. It’s only a few miles from Lake Superior, as evidenced by the pine barrens on the Bayfield Peninsula that the trail passes through.

In 0.3 miles, take the trail south. After another 0.2 miles, the trail curves west.

Two million trout
The hatchery annually rears about 2 million trout that are then placed in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and some of their tributaries. Research also is conducted. It was established in 1979.

About 0.5 miles later, the trail reaches Weidenaar Road. To avoid walking alongside the highway, turn back there. Upon returning to the parking lot, be sure to stop at the visitor center.

When at the hatchery, remind children with you to keep their hands out of the raceways. Doing so helps prevent disease from spreading among fish.

Read more about day hiking Bayfield County, Wisconsin, in my Day Hiking Trails of Bayfield County guidebook.