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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Coon Creek Cliffs (No. 201)

Coon Creek Cliffs in winter

Photo by D. Kind


Overview

Location

Vernon County. T14N-R5W, Section 4 N½SW¼. 28 acres.

Description

Description

Coon Creek Cliffs features a long series of large, north-facing sandstone cliffs, many of which are dripping wet. They support a large population of a rare plant which, along with a variety of mosses, liverworts, swamp saxifrage, wild ginger, and slender cliff brake, make these cliffs quite rich. Another rare species, glade fern (Diplazium pycnocarpon) is also present. The woods at the base of the cliffs, where spring runs and seeps originate, has been grazed. The woods above the cliffs is young paper birch. With protection, the woods, springs, and seeps may gradually return to their former natural condition. Coon Creek Cliffs is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1986.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of U.S. Hwys. 14 and 61 and County Hwy. P in Coon Valley go east and north on County Hwy. P 1.8 miles to Spring Coulee Ridge Road. The natural area lies south and east of the intersection.

Ownership

Coon Creek Cliffs 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.

Management

Site objectives

Manage the site as a rare plant habitat protection site, and a moist cliff ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural community. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native ecosystems.

Management approach

The moist cliff and rare plant habitat 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, salvage of timber after storms, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • Fences need to be maintained to keep cattle out of the site.
  • Roadside easement areas may be managed sporadically by township and state.

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

  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
  • Collecting of animals, 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
  • Camping and campfires
  • Geocaching

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

Last revised: Friday, September 05, 2014