Iron County High Point Trip Report

Date: December 27, 2000
Author: John Mitchler


In the State of U.P., just across the border from Wisconsin, this northwoods cohp is in a private hunting preserve and access is restricted.

From Phelps, Wisconsin, take WI 17 5.7 miles east, passing Bootleg Road which provides access to the cohp's of Vilas and Gogebic. At mile 5.7, WI 17 veers right and Reserve Lane continues straight east. Veer off WI 17 and continue straight east on Reserve Lane. After a quarter mile you'll come to an impressive situation. To the left (north) is a gated entrance to the Smoky Lake Wilderness, a private hunting reserve. Straight ahead is the entrance to estates. The office for the "wilderness" area is located in a home at the entrance to the preserve. We met with manager Mark Schanke who remembered Mike Schwartz's visit earlier in the year. Although friendly, Mark refused access until permission is granted from above. As manager, Mark is concerned about scaring the wildlife which tend to run up against the fence. He's also concerned about how the hooves and horns of his bison will interact with the foreheads of cohper's. Mark will contact the owner of the preserve to determine if access will be granted. If so, a general notice will be given to the cohp group and we'll try to set up a group visit(s).

The preserve, also known as The Wilderness, is a 6,000 acre woods which was assembled in the 1960's for game, fish, and fowl. Cabins and a lodge are within this compound which is enclosed by a tall fence. These boys take this property serious, as it's their livelihood and their passion. Let's try to coordinate successful access to this paradise. I'll take the lead, but if anyone else would like to, they are welcome. I can fax them brochures and business cards.