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Contact information
For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Lulu Lake (No. 138)


Overview

Location

Walworth and Waukesha Counties. T4N-R17E, Sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12. T5N-R17E, Sections 35, 36. 1,866 acres (DNR=1,238 and TNC=627).

Description

Description

A slow, no wake lake, Lulu Lake is an assemblage of exceptionally high quality and diverse wetland and upland communities on glacial topography in the Kettle Moraine region. Many of the natural communities protected here have been virtually eliminated from southeastern Wisconsin. The focal point of the area is the 95-acre Lulu Lake, a 40-foot deep, hardwater drainage kettle lake fed by the Mukwonago River and situated at the base of glacial deposits. The clear waters harbor a diverse fish, amphibian, and reptile fauna. A large wetland complex with patches of calcareous fen and shrub carr embedded within a sedge meadow matrix surrounds the lake on the north and west. An inlet stream contains many rare species such as beaked spike-rush (Eleocharis rostellata), slender bog arrow grass (Triglochin maritimum), Ohio goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis), lesser fringed gentian (Gentianopsis procera), Kalm's lobelia (Lobelia kalmii), and downy willow herb (Epilobium strictum). A small bog surrounded by tamarack forest is also present along with a good complement of other northern bog species including the uncommon dragon's mouth orchid (Arethusa bulbosa). Scattered patches of prairie grow within the oak opening and woodlands and harbor the state-threatened kitten tails (Besseya bullii). Other rare species include the dion skipper butterfly (Euphyes dion). Lulu Lake is owned by the DNR and The Nature Conservancy and was designated a State Natural Area in 1977.

Access

Driving directions

The natural area can be accessed by land from the east, west, and south and by the water. For southern access: From the intersection of County Highways N and J in Troy Center (4.5 miles northwest of East Troy), go east on J 1.2 miles to a parking area north of the road. For eastern access: From the intersection of Highways N and J, go east on J 2.2 miles, then go north on County Highway E 0.3 miles to a parking lot west of the road. For the western access: From the intersection of Highways N and J and Bluff Road in Troy Center, go north on Bluff Road 0.5 mile, then continue north on Nature Road 0.9 mile to a parking lot west of the road. Lulu Lake proper and the wetlands are best seen by watercraft via the channel from Eagle Spring Lake to the north. To reach the Eagle Spring boat landing: From the intersection of Highways N and J in Troy Center, go east on J 2.2 miles, then go north on Highway E 2.0 miles, then go west on Wambold Road 0.1 mile to the Eagle Spring Lake Public Boat Launch. Go southwest 0.3 miles to the southwest corner of Eagle Spring Lake and the channel leading to Lulu Lake. Take the channel one mile south to Lulu. For a close-up look at the wetlands, explore the narrow thread of the Mukwonago River where it enters Lulu Lake on its western shore.

NOTE: The bridge crossing on Nature Road is not an access point for the Mukwonago River. This is a no-parking zone for safety reasons. Lulu Lake is slow, no wake lake.

Deer hunting is allowed on Nature Conservancy property (see map) by permit. Learn more [exit DNR].

Ownership

Lulu Lake is owned by:

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • WDNR

Maps

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.

The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.

Objectives

Site objectives

Manage the site as a reserve for dry prairie, calcareous fen and oak opening, as an aquatic preserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the site's natural communities. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native prairies, fens and oak openings.

Management approach

The ecological characteristics of the site will be primarily shaped by an intensive fire management program. The native prairie and fen species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Occasional fire-tolerant woody species may be retained at low densities (oaks, hickories, and native shrubs such as hazelnut in the prairie; native wetland conifers such as black ash in the fen). The native dominant savanna tree species (primarily oaks) are managed passively. However, some thinning of the canopy, understory manipulation and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Augmentation of the ground layer will only add species that historically would have been found on the site, using seeds or plugs from local genetic material; this usually occurs in the early stages of restoration. The mostly passive canopy management and understory manipulation will determine the ecological characteristics of the savanna. Other allowable activities throughout the site include control of invasive plants and animals, augmentation of native prairie species after careful review, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • Lulu Lake is currently undergoing master planning. Visit the DNR's master planning page for more information.

Management

Management objectives and prescriptions

  • Lulu Lake is currently undergoing master planning. Visit the DNR's master planning page for more information.

Recreation

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

Hunting and trapping

This SNA has multiple landowners: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. In general, most DNR-owned land allows hunting and trapping. Partner-owned land may have other rules (for example, university-owned lands do not allow hunting or trapping). Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the "Resource links" heading above. More details regarding allowable uses on the non-DNR land may be found under the "Access" tab above, if available.

Allowable activities: DNR-owned land

In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted under the "Access" tab above and posted with signs on site.

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hunting
  • Trapping

Prohibited activities: all SNAs

  • Camping and campfires
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

Last revised: Thursday, October 19, 2017