Happy Anniversary, Smokey Bear!  LbNA # 10384 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateAug 16 2004
LocationCable, WI
Found By farmgirlcc
Last Found Sep 4 2010
Hike Distance?

Length: 1.2 miles (or 1.6 miles with additional .4 mile extension)
Difficulty: Easy hike, flat to rolling terrain

This letterbox is in honor of Smokey Bear's 60th anniversary as a fire prevention symbol. On August 9, 1944, the U.S. Forest Service adopted the symbol as a reminder that forest fires were preventable. In 1941, nine out of ten forest fires began through careless practices. By using Smokey's image in catchy phrases and colorful posters, people were reminded to use caution while in the forest. Has he been successful? Well, in 1941, over 30 million acres of wildlands were burned by carelessness and in the 1990's, less than 1 million acres were burned!

Dressed in a ranger's hat, belted blue jeans and carrying a shovel, Smokey Bear continues to protect our forests and wildlands through the efforts of the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) Program. Hope you enjoy this little tribute to an American icon!

Getting There

Drive 8.6 miles east from Cable on Highway M to Garmish Rd. Turn left (north) on Garmish Rd. and continue on just under a mile to the Forest Lodge Nature Trail trail head. The grassy parking lot is on the right side of Garmish Rd.

The Forest Lodge Nature Trail will lead you through field and forest, swamp, bog and even an experimental prairie. Take an interpretive booklet at the beginning of the trail - it will help you appreciate what you see even more (remember to return it to the box when you're through).

The Cable Natural History Museum established this trail in 1968. In 1999, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest acquired the property as a gift from Mary Griggs Burke. The Museum and Forest Service work together to preserve and manage the Forest Lodge Nature Trail. This seemed like a fitting home for Smokey Bear's anniversary letterbox!

(For more information on the Forest Lodge Nature Trail or any other great Cable area cross-country skiing and hiking trails, contact the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 217, Cable, WI 54821, (715) 798-3833, www.cable4fun.com.)


Begin at the trail head parking lot on Garmish Rd. Pick up the interpretive guide from the box and sign the guest register. Take the trail on your right. (There is a good map in the center of the booklet. Make sure your booklet has all the pages - some of them don't.)

When you reach the fork in the trail, follow the branch that leads to the left (you'll know you've gone the right way if the marker numbers ascend in the correct order).

Give the tree a big hug!

Soon you'll reach the remains of a tree that was standing before you were born, before Smokey Bear came to be and even before the first letterbox was placed in Dartmoor.

Shortly you'll have a decision to make. Cross the bridge and continue on the Interpretive Loop or stay left and add on the .4 mile extension. The extension is optional and taking it or not will not affect the clues.

Once you have crossed the bridge (or come to the other side of the bridge via the extension), stop at the trail marker showing the map. Now take 48 paces ahead and uphill along the Interpretive Loop.

On your right you'll see a 4-foot tall stump sporting a red/orange spiked hairdo. Beyond that is a large, old stump with a hole in the side just large enough for a letterbox. If you've reached the top of the hill and the bench, you've gone too far. (The bench makes a good place to stamp in!)

Please replace the box so that none of it shows through the hole. Make sure you can't see it from the trail. Thanks. Finish your hike and enjoy the beauty and variety of this gem of a trail!