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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Butler Lake Flynn's Spring (No. 257)

Butler Lake Flynn's Spring

Photo by Deb Harder


Overview

Location

Within the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Sheboygan County. T14N-R20E, Section 20. 163 acres.

Description

Description

Butler Lake and Flynn's Spring features a seven-acre shallow hard-bottom lake surrounded by sedge meadow. Previously, the site contained a tamarack hardwood swamp but a few years of high water levels has killed off most of the trees. Although the groundlayer has also been flooded, the aquatic vegetation and geologic features are still intact. Nearby Flynn's Spring is a small, spring brook flowing into the south end of Butler Lake. Chara covers the marl-bottomed Butler Lake while the dominant submerged aquatic species is Illinois pondweed. Emergents include white water-lily, bull-head pond-lily, and hard-stem bulrush. A small zone of sedges and bulrushes on the north end is the only open wetland. Older tamaracks, which formerly surrounded the lake, have died but the species is reproducing well along the northwestern and southern shores. Adjacent to the lake is Parnell Esker, a geologic feature known worldwide and used extensively for education. The esker is 5 to 35 feet in height and runs northeast southwest for about four miles. Of particular interest at this site is the presence two rare species-- the unicorn clubtail dragonfly (Arigomphus villosipes), and the swamp spreadwing (Lestes vigilax). Butler Lake and Flynn's Spring is owned by the DNR and was designated in 1992.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 67 and County Highway F in Dundee, go east on F one mile, then north on Division Road 1 mile, then east on Butler Lake Road 1.1 mile, then south on an access road 0.1 mile to a parking area, boat launch, and trailhead for the Butler Lake Trail. The wetlands are best accessed by canoe.

Ownership

Butler Lake Flynn's Spring 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 aquatic preserve, a significant geological site, a wetland protection site, and an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the aquatic communities and associated wetlands. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality aquatic communities and geological features.

Management approach

The native aquatic and wetland species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the lake. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, and maintenance of existing facilities.

Site-specific considerations

  • Historically, the site contained a tamarack hardwood swamp, but prolonged high water conditions have killed most of the trees.
  • A trail provides excellent access to a highly significant geologic feature, the Parnell Esker. Management of this trail requires that hazard trees be removed on occasion, though only in a manner that avoids disturbance of the soil and topography associated with the esker.

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