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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Washburn Marsh (No. 192)

Washburn Marsh

Photo by Eric Epstein

Resource links:

Black River State Forest


Overview

Location

Within the Black River State Forest, Jackson County. T20N-R2W, Sections 4, 5. T21N-R2W, Sections 32, 33. 604 acres.

Description

Description

Situated in a large wetland basin, Washburn Marsh is an undisturbed wetland that includes expanses dominated by sedges and sphagnum moss, black spruce-tamarack swamp and some white and red pine in the surrounding area. The southern and central parts are dominated by sphagnum moss and wire-leaved sedges. Also important are cranberry, blue-joint grass, and steeplebush. pitcher plant, sundew, and lance-leaved violet. Bog birch is the predominant shrub. Towards the northeast the dominance shifts to broad-leaved sedges, Labrador-tea, and cotton-grass, with associated black chokeberry, three-way sedge, and rose pogonia. Swamp conifers are encroaching on open areas with scattered conifer islands of Jack pine, white pine, black spruce, and tamarack. The northwest portion of the site contains an acid conifer swamp of black spruce and tamarack. Black chokeberry and huckleberry dominate the tall, dense shrub layer with common winterberry, mountain holly, and alders. Other species include swamp dewberry, cinnamon fern, and few-seeded sedge. The marsh edge is entirely forested by red maple, oak, and white pine and red pine. Sandhill cranes have been seen here. Resident bird species include Nashville warbler, verry, alder flycatcher, and white-throated sparrow. Some mossing has occurred along the marsh edges, but the disturbed area is not extensive. Washburn Marsh is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1983.

Access

Driving directions

From the junction of I-94 and County O in Millston, go east on O 0.3 mile, then north on North Settlement Road 0.6 mile, then southwest and north on Stanton Creek Road 3.3 miles, then north about 1 mile on an access road. Walk east into the natural area. Or from I-90 and O, go northeast on North Settlement Road 2.65 miles, then northwest on a snowmobile trail about 1.5 miles to the east side of the natural area. Or access the north side via a snowmobile trail just east of Wildcat Flowage off Kling Road.

Ownership

Washburn Marsh 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.

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