"BACKCOUNTRY ZONE" - The character of this zone is natural, with minimal evidence of human impact. While the 'Primitive Zone' is highly restrictive for recreational use and human impact, this zone allows for increased use, including bicycle and equestrian, and modifications of the landscape (i.e. trail development) to accommodate that use.
1. Natural Resources:
- Natural resources modified slightly to support visitor use, but tolerance for natural resource impacts is low.
- Pre-European ecosystem components and processes maintained, restored and protected.
- Human-caused habitat fragmentation minimized.
- Exotic species are contained or removed.
- Water quality maintained or restored.
- This zone will reflect natural processes, with vegetative management only allowed to restore and maintain natural ecological structure and processes (such as removing of invasive species), to address hazard trees, and to manage pests and disease.
- Where agricultural fields currently exist, a strategy should be developed to bring these areas into compliance with the intent (nature/character) of the zone. This strategy should be in the form of an 'Ecological Restoration Plan' developed by the Stewardship Unit with input from staff.
- New agricultural fields may be allowed in the zone but only as a specific and limited phase of an 'Ecological Restoration Plan' or as a critical component of a plan for managing species of greatest conservation need.
- Haying may be used as a long-term vegetation management treatment.
2. Historic/Cultural Resources:
- Cultural resources preserved, rehabilitated, removed or allowed to waste away.
- Historic structures could be adaptively used for operational uses or educational purposes.
3. Recreation Opportunities:
- Moderate levels of recreation compatible with natural character of the zone.
- Non-motorized outdoor activities in diverse land and water natural settings (i.e. hiking, backpacking, back-country camping, bicycling, equestrian use, canoeing, kayaking, nature observation, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting/trapping/fishing).
4. Education Opportunities:
- Interpretive signage at trail heads, on the trail, and at overlooks.
5. Visitor Experience:
- Moderate visitor encounters accommodated
- Visitors engaged in self-reliant, non-motorized outdoor activities in diverse land and water natural settings (i.e. hiking, backpacking, back-country camping, bicycling, equestrian use, canoeing, kayaking, nature observation, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, trapping, and fishing).
- High time commitment.
- Moderate challenge and adventure.
- Discovery area with minimal on-site interpretation.
- Moderate off-site interpretation.
- Low noise tolerance.
- Low interaction with DNR staff.
6. Management Focus:
- Maintain low-impact character of this zone, with emphasis on natural resource quality.
- Low level of development to support visitor access to outdoor activities (i.e. trails, trailhead parking, marked routes, designated backcountry campsites, pit toilets, water pumps) and educational opportunities.
- Development would be unobtrusive and would blend with natural environment.
- Site hardening (i.e. boardwalks, fencing, pedestrian paths) may be necessary to protect sensitive resources.
- Low accessibility.