Star Lake is not incorporated and it never was, even though it was a thriving village at the turn of the century. Local government is the Town of Plum Lake, in Vilas County. Also in Plum Lake is the town of Sayner, which since the closing of the mill in Star Lake about 1909, has been the larger town.
The only governmental facility in Star Lake is the U.S. Post Office, which has been there since 1894. Star Lake is within the Northern Highland State Forest and at one time the Forest maintained a house for a forest ranger in the town--now the house is gone and its site is the parking lot for the Star Lake Nature Trail on the peninsula. All other governmental activity is undertaken from outside of the town: law enforcement; zoning; public education; roads; forest, wildlife and fish management; libraries; etc.