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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Mud Lake - Radley Creek Savanna (No. 224)

Pitcher plant

Photo by K. Kirk

Resource links:

Radley Creek Fishery Area


Overview

Location

Within Radley Creek Fisheries Area, Waupaca County. T21N-R11E, Section 21. 98 acres.

Description

Description

Mud Lake is a shallow, hard water lake in a wilderness setting - having no access or human-made developments. The lake covers nearly eleven acres and is only three feet deep. The water is clear and quite fertile, with the major sources being seepage and springs. There is no inlet, but the lake does have a short outlet to Radley Creek. Wild rice dominates the emergent aquatics. Surrounding the lake is a forest of tamarack and poison sumac. The absence of black spruce makes this site very unusual for this locality. The understory is rich in northern wet forest herbs; sundew and pitcher plant are especially numerous. To the north the land rises into an open forest dominated by white and bur oaks, which has several groundlayer species that are more typical of prairie. Mud Lake-Radley Creek Savanna is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1989.

Access

Driving directions

From Rural go south on State Hwy. 22 three miles to Radley Road, then east on Radley Road 0.5 mile to a parking area. Walk north 0.3 and then east 0.25 miles on state-owned fisheries land to the west boundary.

Ownership

Mud Lake - Radley Creek Savanna 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 an oak opening reserve, an aquatic preserve, a Karner blue butterfly restoration site, and an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the lake and associated wetlands, along with prescribed understory manipulation in the savanna (see below). Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native oak openings.

Management approach

Native aquatic and wetland species are managed passively, allowing nature to determine their ecological characteristics. The native dominant savanna tree species (primarily oaks) are managed passively. However, some thinning of the canopy, understory manipulation and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Augmentation of the ground layer will only add species that historically would have been found on the site, using seeds or plugs from local genetic material; this usually occurs in the early stages of restoration. The mostly passive canopy management and understory manipulation will determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Other allowable activities across the entire site include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. In the savanna areas, salvage of trees after a major wind event can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • The 12-acre old field will be planted to lupine and Karner Blue butterfly nectar plants with locally-collected seed.

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