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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Puchyan Prairie (No. 172)

Puchyan Prairie

Photo by T. Schultz


Overview

Location

Green Lake County. T16N-R12E, Section 1. T17N-R12E, Section 35, 36. 408 acres.

Description

Description

Puchyan Prairie features a mosaic of wetland communities including a large wet-mesic prairie, marsh, and sedge meadow in the floodplain of the Puchyan River. Several characteristic fen species and Indian paintbrush, white wild indigo, shooting-star, cotton-grass, Michigan lily, lady's-tresses orchid, and bird's-foot violet are among the 130 species recorded for the site. Toward the Puchyan River the vegetation grades into an extensive undisturbed shallow marsh of cattail and bulrush and sedge meadow dominated by tussock sedge and blue-joint grass. A small wooded island in the wetland contains large black and bur oaks with hazelnut and Pennsylvania sedge. A rich bird and butterfly fauna includes many rare species. Puchyan Prairie is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1981.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 49 and 23 in Green Lake, go north on 49 1.3 miles, then west on J 3 miles, then north and west on CC 1.3 miles. Go north on Puchyan Marsh Road ~400 feet to a DNR parking area. Walk north into the site. The best prairie lies south and west of the oak island.

Ownership

Puchyan Prairie 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 as a preserve for wet-mesic prairie, southern sedge meadow and open marsh, as a wetland protection site and aquatic preserve, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the wetlands and associated uplands. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native wetlands.

Management approach

The ecological characteristics of the site will be primarily shaped by an intensive fire management program. The native wetland species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Occasional fire-tolerant oaks, hickories, and native shrubs such as steeple bush may be retained at low densities in the wetlands. The native dry-mesic forest species are managed with fire, and will gradually convert to a more open savanna condition over time. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, augmentation of native prairie species after careful review, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • There are two Partition Fence agreements with adjacent landowners. Periodically inspect the fences to make sure the agreements are being carried out.

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