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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Morgan Coulee Prairie (No. 205)

Morgan Coulee Prairie

Photo by Eric Epstein


Overview

Location

Pierce County. T25N-R16W, Section 34. 58 acres.

Description

Description

The second largest dry prairie in the west central region, Morgan Coulee Prairie extends for over a half-mile along a steep, south-facing bluff in a coulee opening onto the Rush River valley. The large expanse of relatively undisturbed dry prairie is broken up with scattered islands of bur oak savanna dominated by open grown, gnarly oaks and shallow wooded draws. Limestone outcrops are scattered about the area and support a community of lichens and ferns. Dominant grasses include big and little blue-stem, side-oats and hairy grama, Indian grass, needle grass, prairie drop-seed, and several muhly grasses. The forbs are equally diverse, highlighted by showy species such as asters, milkweeds, white and purple prairie-clover, blazing-star, Great Plains lady’s-tresses, and prairie larkspur. Wild bergamot, bastard-toadflax, and western sunflower are found under the oaks. Much of the prairie is remarkably free of shrubs; those present include hazelnut, bittersweet, smooth sumac, and dogwoods. At the bluff is a southern dry oak forest. Morgan Coulee Prairie is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1986.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 35 and 385th Street (East River Road) on the west end of Maiden Rock, go north on 385th Street 3.3 miles, then east on 200th Avenue (Morgan Road) 0.2 miles to the southwest corner of the site. Park along the road.

Ownership

Morgan Coulee 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.

Management

Management objectives and prescriptions

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