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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Ketchum Creek Pines (No. 243)

Ketchum Creek Pines

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer

Resource links:

Black River State Forest


Overview

Location

Within the Black River State Forest, Jackson County. T20N-R2W, Sections 11-14. 424 acres.

Description

Description

Ketchum Creek Pines slopes gently from north to south with a dry, sandy upland containing jack pine and oak forest grading rapidly into a northern wet-mesic forest of white pine and red maple. The site becomes increasingly wetter moving toward the south end of the property and the wet-mesic forest gives way to a tamarack black spruce bog and eventually an open sedge meadow. Thin muck soils overlay wet sand and sphagnum moss covers much of the forest floor. Scattered across the forest floor is a tangle of raised tree roots filled with pockets of cold, dark water. Two rare plants, Massachussetts fern (Thelypteris simulata) and northern long sedge (Carex folliculata), are common in these root pockets. A sparse to moderate shrub layer is dominated by winterberry with smaller amounts of mountain holly and huckleberry. The understory is a dense sea of 3-4 foot high cinnamon ferns. Resident avifauna includes the common raven, veery, and Canada, pine, and black-throated green warblers. Northern flying squirrel and porcupine also inhabit the forest. Ketchum Creek Pines is owned by the DNR and was designated in 1991.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of I-94 and County Highway O in Millston, go east on Highway O 4.2 miles, then north and west on Smrekar Road 1.2 miles to the right-angle corner. Park along the road and walk south into the site.

Ownership

Ketchum Creek Pines 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, northern dry-mesic forest, central poor fen and northern sedge meadow, as a wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native wetlands and forests.

Management approach

The native dominant tree species (primarily pines) are managed passively, and will gradually convert over time to a more mesic forest condition. The other native species are also managed passively, allowing nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions 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

  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township.

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