Nelson Lake, located just a few miles north of beautiful Hayward Wisconsin, is home to a variety of fantastic northwoods resorts, restaurants, cabins, lodges and taverns. Part of the Totogatic Flowage, the Nelson Lake area is touched by unspoiled wilderness, bordering the lake to create a largely undeveloped shoreline.
With some of the area’s best Walleye fishing action and pristine waters, Nelson Lake caters to anglers, kayakers, canoers, and all water enthusiasts alike.
In the winter, Hayward snowmobile and cross country ski trails attract thousands from across the Upper Midwest. Miles of riding for snowmobilers and well-marked snowmobile trails provide convenient access to all the area’s amenities, while cross country ski trails are always groomed for those seeking a quieter north woods experience.
Lake Nelson…In the Footprint of the Great Blue Ox
by the Late Eldon Marple
The area traversed by the Totogatic River has always bourne the reputation of being a true wilderness; remote, unsettled and teeming with denizens of the forest of unique characteristics – the fiercest cats, the fattest bears and the “Tobatic” buck – the one to surpass them all!
The fabulous tales were accepted even for the big loop of the river, shaped like the footprint of Paul Bunyan’s ox, which comes nearest to Hayward at a point only a few miles north of town where its waters reach within a mile of the Namekagon River at Phipps – kept apart from it by a quirk of the glacier – the inverted horseshoe valley that is now occupied by Lake Nelson.
The virgin pine forests were sparse along the upper Totogatic so it was almost ignored during the famous logging days and the soils were so poor that the land agents were not able to lure farmers into buying the waste cut – over lands of the timber barons. Consequently records of the activity of either loggers or settlers are also scarce; building a story from them was difficult.
The government land survey in the 1950s mentioned only one detail of human usage in the township, that of an Indian trail which crossed what is now Big Island in Nelson Lake. The next visitor of record was …
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