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Contact information
For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods (No. 158)

Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer

Resource links:

Whitcomb Creek Fishery Area


Overview

Location

Within the Whitcomb Creek Fishery Area, Waupaca County. T24N-R12E, Section 5. 129 acres.

Description

Description

Situated in a depression of glacial till, Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods features a diversity of natural communities on undulating topography. It encompasses the headwaters of Whitcomb Creek, a sandy bottomed, fast-flowing Class I trout stream with naturally reproducing brown and brook trout. The stream receives abundant water from tributary spring runs that line the bank. Springy pockets in low areas near the stream support a wet-mesic forest dominated by white cedar with black ash, balsam fir, red maple, and white pine. Upland edges have a greater canopy diversity including yellow birch, white birch, and hemlock. The ground layer is diverse with more than 18 species of fern. Other plant species include wild sarsaparilla, evergreen sedge, three-leaved goldthread, cinnamon fern, naked miterwort, Canada bunchberry, and yellow bluebead lily. Also present is a good quality northern dry-mesic forest of white and red pine along with red and white oak. Understory species include early low blueberry, maple-leaved Viburnum, alternate-leaved dogwood, gaywings, Canada mayflower, partridgeberry, and American starflower. The area is rich in wildlife. Of interest are winter wren, veery, and raven. Other animals include a diverse assemblage of passerines, ruffed grouse, red fox, common snakes, and occasional waterfowl and mink. Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1980.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways E and G south of Big Falls. Go west and south on G 2.3 miles, then west on Boelter Road 1.25 miles to the northeast corner of the site. Park along the road. The site lies south of the road.

Ownership

Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods is owned by:

  • 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's uplands as northern dry-mesic, mesic and wet-mesic forest reserve and ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Manage the stream as an aquatic reserve and an ecological reference area.

Management approach

The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Site-specific considerations

  • Stream habitat improvement practices, if any, will be restricted to that portion of the stream outside of the natural area.

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.

Allowable activities

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

  • 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
  • Drone use, unless authorized by a SNA research permit
  • 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]

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Last revised: Thursday, October 19, 2017