- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Kettle Moraine Red Oaks (No. 259)
Within the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Sheboygan County. T15N-R20E, Section 14. 242 acres.
Kettle Moraine Red Oaks is a mature second-growth southern dry-mesic forest which originated in 1889. Composed of red oak, basswood, sugar maple and white ash, it is one of the richest oak forests in the region and contains over 100 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs. Other canopy species present include big-tooth aspen, white oak, black cherry, and shagbark hickory while the subcanopy is composed of ironwood, sugar maple, basswood, and ash saplings. The forest is situated on the high interlobate moraine and contains several outstanding dry kettle holes, which provide some diversity in exposure. The groundlayer contains characteristic dry-mesic species with three species of bedstraw, numerous sedges, downy Solomon’s seal, mayapple, maidenhair fern, American squaw-root, large-flowered trillium, sweet cicely, and Canada mayflower. This large tract provides important habitat for forest interior birds including three state-threatened species: Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens), red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), and cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea). Other birds include ovenbird, barred owl, and wood thrush, wood pewee, and scarlet tanager. Kettle Moraine Red Oaks is part of the most extensive hardwood forest located within the region and forms the core of a larger proposed Habitat Preservation Area. Protection of this site is vital given the harvest pressure and the loss of red oaks across the landscape. As this site ages, it will become a prime candidate for research on old-growth red oak forests. Kettle Moraine Red Oaks is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1992.
From the intersection of County Highways T and A in Greenbush, go south on A 1 mile to a pull-off on the east side of the road. The Ice Age Trail, which crosses A 0.2 miles farther south, traverses the site. Access also from the east along Ridge Road, 1.4 miles north of Highway Z.
Kettle Moraine Red Oaks is owned by:
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.
Manage the site as a southern dry-mesic forest reserve, as a significant geological site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Note: It is understood that over the course of time, the oak component will decrease under a passive management regime. Other State Natural Areas, however, are managed to maintain an old-growth oak cover type. Both management scenarios are needed as ecological reference areas.
The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. The dry-mesic forest will be allowed to convert over time to a more mesic forest condition. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, and access to suppress wildfires.
- 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.
- Roadside and utility easement areas may be managed sporadically by county and pipeline company.
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.
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.
- Cross country skiing
- 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
For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]