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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Crooked Lake Wetlands (No. 255)

Crooked Lake Wetlands

Photo by E. Epstein


Overview

Location

Fond du Lac and Sheboygan County. T13N-R19E, Section 1. T13N-R20E, Sections 6, 31. 288 acres.

Description

Description

Crooked Lake Wetlands is a diverse complex of communities including northern wet forest, southern dry-mesic forest, southern sedge meadow, shrub-carr, open bog, and two shallow seepage lakes. The 65-acre Crooked Lake is one of the larger natural lakes in the county and has a maximum depth of 34 feet. The inlet provides a spawning ground for northern pike while the outlet forms a small tributary of the East Branch of the Milwaukee River. On the west side of Crooked Lake is a shrub-carr of diverse composition and structure. White meadowsweet and bog birch are dominant with openings of blue-joint grass, tussock sedge, and long-bracted tussock sedge. Red-osier dogwood and willows dominate some areas while speckled alder, common winterberry, nannyberry, and poison sumac characterize others. The herbaceous layer is equally diverse with royal fern, marsh fern, meadow-rue and marsh pea. Also present are two shallow, hard water, seepage lakes - Cedar Lake and an unnamed lake. Cedar Lake is surrounded by swamp hardwoods of yellow birch, black ash, and red maple and a mature stand of sugar maple, basswood and red oak. The unnamed lake has numerous emergent aquatics including wild rice and is surrounded by a boggy shrub forest with tamarack. The unnamed lake has been home to a large colony of breeding black terns (Chlidonias niger) and is also a spawning area of northern pike. Besides black terns this area is home to a diverse community of birds including nesting and migratory waterfowl, swamp sparrow, yellow, golden-winged, and Nashville warblers, veery, gray catbird, American woodcock, and yellow-billed cuckoo. Crooked Lake Wetlands is owned by the DNR and was designated a SNA in 1992.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 67 and County G in Dundee, go south on G 2.0 miles, then east on SS 1.6 miles, then head north 0.1 mile to a boat launch.

Ownership

Crooked Lake Wetlands 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 shrub-carr, southern sedge meadow, and emergent aquatic native communities, an aquatic preserve and wetland protection area, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural communities, along with prescribed vegetation manipulation in the wetlands.

Management approach

The native aquatic species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the lake. The native sedge meadow and shrub-carr species are managed actively through tree management using harvest, brushing and fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Other allowable activities throughout the site include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township.
  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.

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: Tuesday, March 21, 2017