Perhaps the best way to get to know the Namekagon Barrens is simply to get out and walk on them. There are no marked trails but the country is open and mostly accessible. One route that lets you explore both the ecosystem and the history is described in the book “Sand and Fire” by Dave Peters, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Here’s a brief summary of that walk.

“Something of our relationship to the earth is determined by the particular place we stand at a given time. If you stand still long enough to observe carefully the things around you, you will find beauty, and you will know wonder.” N. Scott Momaday

The best way to take this tour is to buy the book and bring it with you or you can also buy it later and learn what you missed. 

Packing List Reminders 

  • Proper shoes and hiking clothes (This is a three mile round trip)
  • Sand and Fire book (best way to do the tour – perhaps copy the tour pages from the book)
  • Compass (or use the sun to travel NE and back)
  • Bug spray
  • Cellphone (you may be able to use the FNBWA Web site out there) 
  • Camera

Basic Directions for the Walk

Stop 1: Evergreen Cemetery

  • Directions to the cabin are here. 
  • From the cabin go south on Golumak Fire Lane, then west on Five Mile Road.
  • More information is at Cemetery

Stop 2: Humphrey Hillock  Depression

  • Walk north across Five Mile Road from the cemetery.
  • Notice the depression.

Stop 3: Dry Landing Rd 

  • Walk west to Dry Landing Road, then north about a tenth of a mile.
  • Look west and then east and notice how Burnett Conty manages for timber and the WI DNR manages for barrens.

Stop 4: Benjamin and Ruby Hillock’s Farm

  • Continue up Dry Landing Rd to St. Croix trail. 
  •  Or walk into the Barrens land heading somewhat to the NE until crossing St. Croix Trail.
  • The depressions are perhaps for house or barn buildings.
  • More information at  Hillock Homestead

 Stop 5: Forest Home School 

  • Walk east from the Hillock homestead to find the school foundation.
  • For more information  see  Old School Foundation 
  • Notice the birdhouse north of the school foundation used by bluebirds or tree swallows.

Stop 6: Clemen’s Creek Ravine

  • The old stagecoach trail runs north and east of the old  school.
  • Walk about two hundred yards (if you can see it) on stagecoach trail and you see a slight incline where the ruts are easier to see.  Look for a small stand of jack pine (the larger of two small stands of jack pine). 
  • On your left is a marshy area where Clemens Creek begins and on your right a pond with a berm between them where you can walk without getting your feet wet and in a few hundred yards you find the Delong-Lien Fire Trail.
  • Go a few more hundred yards and you hit Gomulak Lane (The cabin is then south of you).
  • For more information on the stagecoach trail see:   Stagecoach Trail  

Stop 7: Gomulak Fire Lane

  • On your trip back to the cemetery you will be going slightly up hill before getting back to the school but enough to make distant trees hard to see and use as landmarks.  If you keep going south and a little west you eventually will find St. Croix Trail and the school foundation and will know where you are at again.  

For more information on historical sites see the historical sites map