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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Gotham Jack Pine Barrens (No. 279)

Gotham Jack Pine Barrens

Photo by A. Clark


Overview

Location

Within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Richland County. T8N-R2E, Sections 4, 5. T9-R2E, Section 32. 412 acres.

Description

Description

Located on Wisconsin River sand terraces, Gotham Jack Pine Barrens contains the largest and best remaining black oak and Jack pine barrens in Richland County. Also present is a floodplain forest of young timber and a small, shallow oxbow lake of high water quality, a sedge and grass dominated wet meadow, dry sand prairie, and open sand blows. The barrens is located on undulating terrain composed of very old sand blows and dunes and is recovering from past grazing. The tree canopy is quite closed and the understory remains nearly shrub-free with a ground layer dominated by sedges. Some areas are still moderately rich in native species including big and little blue-stem, Indian grass, prairie cord grass, green milkweed, silky aster, flax-leaved aster, prairie coreopsis, gray goldenrod, rough blazing-star, goat's-rue, and bird's-foot violet. The floodplain forest is composed of silver maple, green ash, river birch, swamp white oak, and American elm. The unusual wet meadow is dominated by cord grass, blue-joint grass, rushes, and sedges and contains no shrubs and is nearly devoid of forbs. The area contains numerous rare plants and animals. Plant species of concern are small forget-me-not (Myotis laxa), poppy mallow (Callirhoe triangulata), and sycamore (Plantanus occidentalis). Animal species of concern are tiger beetle (Cicindela patruela ustulata) and flat floater freshwater mussel (Anodonata suborbiculata). Gotham Jack Pine Barrens is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1994.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of U.S. Highway 14 and County Highway JJ in in Gotham, go east on 14 0.2 mile, then south on Timber Lane past the sawmill to the bike trail and a gate. Park and walk due south along an overgrown access easement to the northwest corner of the western tract. The site is also accessible by boat from the Wisconsin River.

Ownership

Gotham Jack Pine 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 a pine barrens reserve 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 pine barrens.

Management approach

The native dominant tree species (primarily jack pine) are managed actively. However, some trees such as scattered northern pin oak and red pine are not harvested. After jack pine is established, thinning of the canopy and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • The pine plantation will be thinned and harvested, and conversion to pine barrens will be promoted.
  • Old field will be burned and interseeded with locally collected sand prairie species.

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

  • Camping and campfires
  • 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
  • Drone use, unless authorized by a SNA research permit
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use

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: Thursday, October 19, 2017