- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program McGilvra Woods (No. 206)
Sauk County. T11N-R6E, Section 8, 14. 74 acres.
McGilvra Woods is one of the richest southern mesic forests in southwestern Wisconsin and noted for its display of spring wildflowers. The forest is situated on a gentle to moderate northwest slope at the edge of the Baraboo Hills with a knob of exposed sandstone bedrock found near the southeast corner of the site. Sugar maple and basswood dominate the woods with black cherry, red oak, white ash, yellowbud hickory, bigtooth aspen, and white oak. The trees are medium-aged, but the site is intact and with protection could become an old mesic forest. The sparse shrub layer contains eastern prickly gooseberry, common elderberry, and alternate-leaved dogwood. The groundlayer flora is rich in spring ephemerals and contains more than 110 species including the rare cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis) along with uncommon plants such as leatherwood and putty root orchid. Showy species include spring-beauty, toothwort, woodland phlox, wild geranium, hepatica, May-apple, Virginia waterleaf, bellwort, nodding trillium, and several orchids. McGilvra Woods is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1986.
From the intersection of Highways 12 and 136 in West Baraboo, go south on 12 one mile, then west on County Highway W 3.25 miles, then north on Farview Road and park on the road. Walk east into the site.
McGilvra Woods is owned by:
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.
Manage the site as a southern mesic forest reserve and an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest.
Native species are managed passively, allowing nature to determine the ecological characteristics. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, and maintenance of existing facilities. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.
- Mesic forest species will be allowed to invade the old field in the northwest corner of the property, which may be augmented with planting of mesic forest species.
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.
See the "Ownership" tab above to determine if this State Natural Area is DNR-owned, 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.
- Cross country skiing
Many State Natural Areas are owned by DNR partner organizations and agencies. See the "Ownership" tab above to determine ownership of this SNA. Allowable recreational uses on partner-owned sites, and the rules governing them, may differ from those permitted on DNR-owned SNAs. Specific rules, especially for hunting and trapping, vary depending on the partner’s policies, and some may require a special permit. More details regarding use of partner-owned SNAs may be available under the "Access" tab above. If this SNA is owned by a partner, a link to the partner website is found at the top of this page. Please contact partners directly for more information on activities allowed on this property.
- 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
For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]