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Did you know there's a state forest in Milwaukee?

For the last four weeks, we've been visiting natural gems around Milwaukee as we explore the theme of "outdoors" on In The Wings.

For our final story, we're visiting the north side of Milwaukee to explore a 237-acre natural forest tucked between two busy streets.

Havenwoods State Forest runs between W. Mill Rd. and W. Silver Spring Dr., along N. Sherman Blvd.  It's a triangle of natural prairie ringed by thousands of trees, with roughly six miles of trails winding through the grounds.

The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources operates the land, but unlike other state parks, admission is free to all.  Visitors do not need a state park sticker to park, and much of the programming is free, too.

The forest offers a variety of hiking experiences, as well as snow shoeing and geocaching. It is also home to an estimated 170 bird species and other wildlife.

But the grounds were not always as serene as they are today.  Prior to the 1980s, the land was used for military and government purposes, both on the state and federal level.

Click the player below to hear from park Superintendent Judy Klippel as she shares the unusual history of the park.

To explore more stories from our In The Wings series, click the stories at the bottom of the page.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee