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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Roche-A-Cri Woods (No. 362)

Roche-a-Cri

Photo by My Wisconsin Space

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Roche-A-Cri State Park


Overview

Location

Within Roche-A-Cri State Park, Adams County. T18N-R6E, Sections 29, 30. 442 acres.

Description

Description

Roche-A- Cri Woods features an old-growth pine-oak forest on the sandy terrain that surrounds Roche-A-Cri mound. Canopy dominants are large white pine, white oak, black oak, red pine, and red oak. Associated species include black cherry, red maple, and big-toothed aspen. Saplings of red maple, white pine, and white oak with ironwood and yellowbud hickory are also present. The varied shrub layer contains American hazelnut, nannyberry, and prickly ash with huckleberry and early low blueberry common throughout. The diverse groundlayer contains at least 220 species including bracken fern, elliptic shin-leaf, interrupted fern, wild sarsaparilla, calico aster, Pennsylvania sedge, and spinulose wood fern. Carter Creek, a class III trout stream, meanders through the site. As the terrain drops towards the creek, the vegetation becomes more mesic with species such as ironwood, maidenhair fern, lady fern, hepatica, early meadow rue, and marsh marigold. Bordering the creek is a wet-mesic floodplain forest of silver maple, green ash, and basswood. Numerous birds use the forest including the uncommonly found Louisiana waterthrush. Other migratory bird species are eastern wood-pewee, ovenbird, scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, and rose-breasted grosbeak. Minor natural communities include dry sand prairie, northern dry forest, and oak barrens. Roche-A-Cri Woods is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of County Highway J and State Highway 13 in Friendship, go north on 13 2 miles to the Roche-A-Cri State Park entrance. Or continue north on 13 another 0.5 mile, then go east 0.3 mile on Cypress Avenue to a parking area south of the road.

Ownership

Roche-A-Cri Woods 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 reserve for northern dry forest, Central Sands pine-oak forest, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will primarily determine the structure of the forest. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality Central Sands pine-oak forest and northern dry forest ecosystems.

Management approach

In the Central Sands pine-oak forest along the stream corridor, the native dominant tree species (primarily pines and oaks) are managed passively. However, understory manipulation and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. The mostly passive canopy management and active understory manipulation will determine the ecological characteristics of these areas. In all other areas, management will promote mature northern dry forest conditions; this will not be achieved until jack pines reach maturity. Timber harvest will be done here to foster tree regeneration. Other allowable activities throughout the site include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is considered compatible with management objectives.

Site-specific considerations

  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near access roads and hiking trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • The old field east of Highway 13 has been planted to native warm-season grasses to provide habitat for grassland birds.
  • Roadside easement areas may be managed sporadically by the state and county.

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: Friday, December 15, 2017