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A Little-Known Milwaukee Gem: Havenwoods State Forest

Juan Alberto Garcia Rivera

While many people travel north to visit natural spaces, a hike through a state forest requires a trip no further than the north side of Milwaukee.

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Havenwoods State Forest

Havenwoods State Forest has a unique and diverse history. What started as Native American hunting grounds evolved into German farm land, then a county house of corrections prison farm, then a military disciplinary barracks housing soldiers and prisoners of war. During the Cold War, the land was used as an Army Nike Ajax missile base. It was eventually was deemed surplus land in 1974 and given to the state's jurisdiction. Havenwoods has been a state forest since 1980 - after a great deal of transformation.

Matt Hrodey, a senior editor at Milwaukee Magazine, wrote about what you’ll find at Havenwoods State Forest, which remains under the radar for many in the area: