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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Mazomanie Oak Barrens (No. 248)

Mazomanie Oak Barrens

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Dane County. T9N-R6E, Sections 23, 24 W½SE¼. 136 acres.

Description

Description

Situated on a broad and gently undulating sand terrace along the Wisconsin River, Mazomanie Oak Barrens features a significant oak barren remnant containing large scattered black oaks with bur oak, black cherry, and small amounts of white oak. Groves of smaller oaks occur amid sand prairie openings with species such as big and little blue-stem, bronze-headed oval sedge, goat’s-rue, Carolina puccoon, June grass, clammy ground-cherry, rough blazing-star, prairie coreopsis, few-leaved sunflower, and spiderwort. Within the matrix community are patches of oak woodland with white and black oaks and a shrub layer composed of American hazelnut and huckleberry. The barrens supports the state-threatened cream gentian (Gentiana alba) and the rare prairie fame-flower (Talinum rugospermum). A wet prairie dominated by prairie cord grass is also present. Past disturbances include grazing and fire suppression, which diminished available habitat for sun-loving grasses and forbs but management activities such as tree thinning will help invigorate the area. Mazomanie Oak Barrens is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1991.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and State Highway 78 just east of Sauk City, go south on 78 1.2 miles, then west on County Highway Y 1.4 miles to a parking area south of the road. Walk south into the site.

Ownership

Mazomanie Oak Barrens 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 barrens reserve, as a rare animal habitat site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed vegetation manipulation (see below) will determine the structure of the savanna. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native oak barrens.

Management approach

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 species; 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 include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near state-approved snowmobile trails and field roads is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance must be minimized, and must have no impact on the rare species found at the site
  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by county.
  • Sand and oak barrens species will be allowed to invade the old field.
  • The pine plantation will be thinned and harvested, and conversion to oak barrens will be promoted.

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

  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
  • 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
  • Camping and campfires
  • Geocaching

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: Monday, February 13, 2017