Welcome to the North and South Twin Lakes Protection and Rehabilitation District Website … We hope you enjoy your browsing experience

History of North and South Twin Lakes

North and South Twin Lakes are located in Vilas County, in the Town of Conover and the Town of Phelps. North Twin Lake is 2,788 acres with a maximum depth of 60 feet. South Twin Lake is 642 acres with a maximum depth of 43 feet. They are both drainage lakes with an inlet (Military Creek) and outlet (Twin River). The outlet is controlled by a dam, owned and operated by Wisconsin Valley Improvement Corp., headquartered in Wausau, WI. Both lakes are considered to be in the mesotrophic state on the trophic state index. A Trophic State Index is used to group lakes based on water chemistry data and explain the relative age of a lake. Lakes can be classified as oligotrophic – nutrient poor, young; eutrophic – nutrient rich, old; or mesotrophic, which lies between the two. Trophic state is a term that describes the condition of a lake, but is not an exact measure. Mesotrophic, North and South Twins category, has increased nutrients and more plants. North Twin Lake has two public boat landings and South Twin has one.

Early history of the area indicates French trappers arrived among the Ottawa Indians as early as the 1600s. The earliest surveyors were noted in this area in 1840. The Wausau-Ontonagon Trail and the Military Road were used for accessing the area. The Wausau-Ontonagon Trail crossed at the channel between North and South Twin Lakes and then met the Military Road on the east shore of North Twin. From there they both went north toward Land O’Lakes where Military Rd. continued on its journey to the Keweenaw Peninsula in Northern Michigan and the Ontonagon trail went to Ontonagon on the shore of Lake Superior.

Historically, the Twin Lakes area was noted for its great hunting and fishing, making it an attraction for outdoorsmen. As early at the 1880s, many resorts sprung up on the shores of North and South Twin Lakes, also known as Big and Little Twin. One of the original resorts on South Twin Lake is now run as Camp Birch Knoll, a girl’s camp, but most are now private residences.

Photo credit: Katherine Naherny

Recent Accomplishments

In November of 2017 the Vilas County Board of Supervisors approved The North and South Twin Lakes Protection and Rehabilitation District by a unanimous vote.  As a local governmental unit with taxing authority the Lake District is now responsible for all “Lake Management” activities on both North & South Twin Lakes.

North & South Twin Lake District Parcels …
Lake District 8120

What is a Lake District?

A specialized unit of government designed to manage a lake. It may only be formed on lakes that are publicly accessible. Since 1974, when Wisconsin passed legislation allowing the formation of lake districts, over 200 lake communities have formed lake districts, including Alma-Moon Lake P&R District, Kentuck Lake P&R District, Little Arbor Vitae P&R District, Little St. Germain P&R District, Long Lake of Phelps Lake District, Lost Lake District, Spectacle Lake District, Stella Lake P&R District, and now your North & South Twin Lakes Protection & Rehabilitation District.

A lake district has powers and governance provisions and is guided and operated by those who live in or own property in the district. The operation is directed by a board of commissioners composed of elected volunteers and local officials. Both resident and non-resident property owners have the right to vote and hold office in a lake district.

A lake district must follow Chapter 33 of the Wisconsin State Statutes. The district does not compete with local governments, does not establish zoning or development laws. Its sole purpose is to protect the ecological integrity and environmental quality of the lake.

The Purpose of our Lake District

  • Insure that the lakes’ environmental issues are addressed fairly and democratically
  • Provide a forum for all owners to be part of the solution
  • Evaluate feasible aquatic plant management alternatives
  • Manage AIS safely and effectively with methods currently available
  • Protect, nurture, and improve fish and wildlife habitat
  • Support all legal recreational uses of the lakes
  • Preserve native aquatic plants
  • Promote lake management education and raise awareness
  • Communicate Plans to all owners
  • Secure financial resources to support the Lake Management Plan
  • Insure that Lake Quality Management costs are equitably shared by all lake property owners
Photo credit: Jay Wittman
Photo credit: Jay Wittman