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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Tower Hill Bottoms (No. 33)

Tower Hill Bottoms

Photo by Joshua Mayer


Overview

Location

Within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Iowa County. T8N-R4E, Section 20. 481 acres.

Description

Description

Tower Hill Bottoms features an excellent example of an undisturbed floodplain forest of silver maple, river birch, American elm, green ash, and swamp white oak located along the Lower Wisconsin River. Shrubs range from sparse under the closed canopy to quite dense in areas where natural gaps have occurred with buttonbush, prickly ash, and silky dogwood dominating. Especially common are climbing vines of grape, woodbine, wild yam, carrion flower, and poison ivy, which climb into the canopy giving the tree trunks a leafy appearance. By mid-summer, the groundlayer contains an abundance of wood nettle along with sawtooth sunflower, cardinal flower, sensitive fern, fringed loosestrife, and green dragon. Bird life is diverse, and includes pileated woodpecker and tufted titmouse. Tower Hill Bottoms is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1958.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 14 and 23 north of Spring Green, go south on 23 3 miles, then east on County C 0.8 mile to the Tower Hill State Park entrance north of the road. Follow park trails north of the shot tower and cross Mill Creek on fallen tree "bridges." Access also by canoe via the park's boat landing.

Ownership

Tower Hill Bottoms 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 floodplain forest reserve and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native floodplain forests.

Management approach

The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

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