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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Jay Creek Pine Forest (No. 241)

Jay Creek Pine Forest

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Jackson County. T20N-R1W, Sections 28, 33. 442 acres.

Description

Description

Jay Creek Pine Forest is a diverse mix of dry to wet pine woods lying in the flat, poorly drained bed of former Glacial Lake Wisconsin. The uplands are northern dry-mesic forest of white and red pine, red maple, and white oak. Most significant is the excellent white pine-red maple swamp on gently sloping wet sand along Jay Creek, an unusual community found only within the bed of former Glacial Lake Wisconsin. Winterberry dominates the shrub layer with some blueberry, huckleberry, and alder present. The understory is dominated by chest-high expanses of cinnamon fern on a dense mat of sphagnum moss with three-leaved gold-thread, American starflower, Canada mayflower, and yellow bluebead-lily. Two rare plant species, northern long sedge (Carex folliculata) and the Massachussetts fern (Thelypteris simulata), disjunct here from its nearest population in Pennsylvania, are also common. Jay Creek is a fast, cold soft water stream inhabited by brook trout with plant species including American eelgrass and floating-leaved bur-reed. Black spruce is a common component near the stream with paper birch, yellow birch and occasional tamarack. Bird life includes northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), broad-winged hawk, pileated woodpecker, veery, ovenbird, red-breasted nuthatch, and pine, Canada, and black-throated green warblers. Jay Creek Pine Forest is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1990.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of I-94 and County Highway O in Millston, go east on Highway O 6.5 miles, then south on Arrow Road 2.8 miles, then east on E. Starlight Road 0.8 mile to a parking area north of the road. Walk north along an old access lane.

Ownership

Jay Creek Pine Forest 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 a reserve for white pine-red maple swamp, as an aquatic reserve, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will primarily determine the structure of the forest. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native white pine-red maple swamp.

Management approach

The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. The dry-mesic forest in the uplands is designated as future old-growth, and will be allowed to convert over time to a more mesic forest condition. Allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Site-specific considerations

  • Mesic forest species will be allowed to invade the old field areas, which may be augmented with planting of mesic forest species.
  • The pine plantation will be thinned and harvested, and conversion to northern mesic forest will be promoted.
  • The parking lot will be maintained.

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