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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Quincy Bluff And Wetlands (No. 272)


Overview

Location

Adams County. T16N-R5E, Sections 1-4, 10-15, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27. T16N-R6E, Sections 7, 18. T17N-R5E, Sections 25, 26, 27, 34, 35, 36. 6,498 acres.

Description

Description

Quincy Bluff and Wetlands is a large, landscape-scale natural area featuring a mosaic of communities including northern wet and wet-mesic forest, northern and southern sedge meadow, shrub-carr, pine barrens, and sand prairie. This unique area is located in the Central Sand Plain ecoregion of Wisconsin, the bed of extinct Glacial Lake Wisconsin and features a vast wetland complex with low sandy ridges, wetlands, and seepage ponds situated between sandstone mesas and buttes that rise 100-200 feet. Quincy Bluff, which rises 200 feet high and extends for approximately two miles, contains northern dry forest and open cliff communities. Lone Rock, an excellent example of a Driftless Area mesa, features one hundred-foot Cambrian sandstone cliffs. The uplands are forested with jack pine and Hill's oak with a shrub layer dominated by huckleberry, American hazelnut, and early low blueberry. Pennsylvania sedge is the dominant herb with wild lupine and spreading dogbane common constituents of the understory. Grasses and forbs characteristic of barrens and sandy prairies are found here including big blue-stem, June grass, needle grass, poverty grass, goat's-rue, prairie coreopsis, and rough blazing-star. Due to its large size and heterogeneous landscape, Quincy Bluff and Wetlands contains essential habitat for a great diversity of species. Within this vast ecosystem are numerous rare plant and animal species including cross milkwort (Polygala cruciata), Virginia meadow beauty (Rhexia virginica), fragile prickly pear (Opuntia fragilis), ringed boghaunter dragonfly (Williamsonia lintneri), ebony boghaunter dragonfly (Williamsonia fletcheri), warpaint emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora incurvata), and a tiger beetle (Cicindela patruela huberi). Quincy Bluff is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1993.

In 2013, the Nature Conservancy donated its remaining 1,700 acres at Quincy Bluff to the state. In addition, the Conservancy also donated a permanent endowment to supplement management costs at the preserve, with the funds to be managed by a qualified foundation. This gift of land will better enable the DNR to streamline management across the natural area, particularly the use of prescribed fire to restore rare oak barrens.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 13 and H just east of White Creek, go west on H 2.6 miles, then north on 16th Avenue 0.4 mile, then west on Evergreen Avenue 0.5 mile, then north on 16th Drive 2.4 miles to a parking area east of the road. Or from Highways 13 and H, go north on 13 5.9 miles, then west on Dyke Drive 1.4 miles, then north on 14th Drive 0.4 mile to a parking area west of the road. Old logging roads loop through the site. State Natural Area signs mark the parcels.

Ownership

Quincy Bluff And 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.

Management

Site objectives

Manage the site as an oak/pine barrens, northern dry forest and northern sedge meadow preserve, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection area, a sand prairie restoration site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the dry forest, along with prescribed vegetation manipulation (see below) in the savanna. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native oak/pine barrens and northern sedge meadows.

Management approach

The native dominant tree species (primarily jack pine and black oak) are managed actively in the barrens management area. However, some scattered black oak, white oak, and red pine will not be harvested. After jack pine is thinned, additional shrub control via brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. The area north and east of Lone Rock is managed as an old northern dry forest preserve. The white pines and oaks are managed passively, thus the forest will transition to a more dry-mesic character as red maple becomes more dominant. 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 trails and access roads is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • Open former agricultural areas will eventually be planted to sand prairie species.

Master planning

Management objectives

  1. Read the Interim Forest Management Plan that will guide management until a master plan is completed.

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, 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: Friday, April 15, 2016