Red-headed Woodpecker photo by Dennis Malueg
Red-headed Woodpecker. Photo by Dennis
Birding Trail #5 The Green Circle Birding Trail:
Whiting Park Trail & Paper Mill Trail

Length: 1.5 miles (Whiting Park Trail), 2.1 miles (Paper Mill Trail)
Sidewalks (along County HH), woodchips (in Whiting Park), crushed granite (Paper Mill Trail)
Whiting Park (east), Stevens Point Care Center on Sherman Ave. (west)

Map: Click here to view a map of the trail [PDF]
Section Page: Click here for the Whiting Park Trail
                           Click here for the Paper Mill Trail

The Whiting Park Walking Trail is accessed from parking lots on either side of the Plover River at the Whiting Park Dam on HH (Water St.). The Green Circle Trail segment described here can also be accessed at the Parking Lot at the Stevens Point Care Center at the west end of Sherman Ave.

The Whiting Park and Paper Mill Trails are beautiful walks of about 3 miles. The Whiting Park Trail is entered on the east side of the Plover River. In winter, one can park on the west side and observe several hundred Mallards (congregating, in part, because of public feeding). Mixed in with these ducks can be rare,
over-wintering birds such as the American Black Duck, Hooded Merganser, and American Wigeon. Canada Geese can also be seen here in warmer winters.

The first part of the trail is dominated by a mixed hardwood forest with scattered evergreens. One then passes two small seepage streams and climbs high above the river (now an impoundment from the Whiting Avenue dam near the Wisconsin River). Dotting the area are tree stumps that reveal the kind of vegetation along the river prior to impoundment. Just south of this overlook is a kiosk (built by the WI Conservation Corps) showing the “Whiting Park Mound Group.” This kiosk discusses the location and significance of “Indian mounds” in the area.

One then drops back down into the Plover River Valley and through a dense stand of mature deciduous trees, good habitat for nesting Ovenbirds in spring and a good area for spring migrants. One then proceeds up the hill, along Cedar Street to its cul-de-sac and north over the Plover flowage bridge. On the northeast side of the bridge is an Osprey platform that has hosted successful nests over the past several years. Be sure to use the overlooks to search for Green and Great Blue Herons and waterfowl.

Continue on the path around the Whiting Wastewater Treatment Plant to a marshy area on both sides of the trail. This marsh is now dominated by encroaching, narrow-leafed cattails from the southern U.S. In spring, this marsh has nesting Red-winged Blackbirds plus Song and Swamp Sparrows. A variety of woodpeckers frequent the trees in and around this marsh, including the rare Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers (look for the telltale signs of deep, wedge-shaped holes of the Pileated in trees along the trail).

The path continues across railroad tracks and down into a marsh along the Plover River flowage, past a historic stone springhouse owned by Neenah Paper and to the confluence with the Wisconsin River on Whiting Road. Depending on the year, the marsh can have nesting Wood Ducks, Great-horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-headed Woodpeckers (also Hairy and Downy), Common Yellowthroats, and more. Where the Plover River runs into the Wisconsin River, Trumpeter Swans have become winter residents. Moreover, flocks of Common Goldeneyes and a few Common Mergansers can be found here in winter.

The path continues another mile north along Whiting Road past the New Page Mill in Whiting, through an area with a transmission line right-of-way (with dense thickets of hazelnut shrubs, white pines, and jack pines) to Sherman Avenue, and west through gorgeous, mature white pines, over a wetland boardwalk, to the Stevens Point Care Center. These white pines have Pine Warblers in them in summer and Brown Creepers in winter. This is also an excellent area to spot Red-headed Woodpeckers.

The Green Circle Birding Trail is sponsored by The Aldo Leopold Audubon Society (ALAS)

The Aldo Leopold Audubon Society