The Pine and Popple Rivers offer a true wild experience, being among Wisconsin's more remote river systems. The area is rugged and undeveloped. Access is limited and often difficult.
The entire 89-mile length of the Pine River and the 62 miles of its major tributary, the Popple River, were designated by the Wisconsin legislature as state wild rivers in 1965 to be protected from development and kept in a natural, free-flowing condition. Both the Pine and Popple Rivers are born in the vast forests and swamps of the Nicolet National Forest [exit DNR]. Within the Forest boundary approximately 80% of the upper 56 miles of the Pine River and 58% of the upper 50 miles of the Popple River are in federal ownership.
Mid-way along their courses the rivers leave the national forest and enter the Pine-Popple Wild River project area managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR's project area includes the lower 12 miles of the Popple River and the lower 33 miles of the Pine River, ending with the Pine at the Menominee River. At present, approximately 80% percent of the 12,000 acre project area is in public ownership, either the State or Florence County. The remainder is comprised of small privately owned tracts or property owned by We Energies.
Canoe Camping: Rules governing camping differ depending on land ownership. A limited number of primitive canoe campsites are provided along the river on state-owned lands. Camping is not restricted on Florence County and Nicolet National Forest land, the user may set up on any suitable site along the river. Camping may or may not be permitted by the landowner on private industrial forest land and local inquiries should be made as to the permissibility of camping on these lands.
A number of small campgrounds are located in the river area. All campgrounds have toilets and drinking water, except for We Energies site number 24 on the south side of the Pine Flowage where water isn't available.
Upper river- U.S. Forest Service campgrounds:
Chipmunk Rapids — 6 sites on the Pine River
Lost Lake — 27 sites
Lauterman Lake — 5 sites
Perch Lake — 5 sites
Morgan Lake — 18 sites
Mid-river - We Energies:
Pine Flowage — site 34, north - 3 sites
Pine Flowage — site 24, south - 3 sites
Mid-river - Florence County:
Emily Lake — 18 sites
West Bass Lake — 18 sites
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