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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Yellowstone Savanna (No. 363)

Yellowstone Savanna

Photo by Joshua Mayer

Resource links:

Yellowstone Lake State Park


Overview

Location

Within Yellowstone Lake State Park, Lafayette County. T3N-R4E, Section 1. T4N-R4E, Section 36. T4N-R5E, Section 31. 220 acres.

Description

Description

Yellowstone Savanna contains a restorable oak savanna and a small dry prairie situated along the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake. Although the understory has lost some native species due to grazing, tilling, and lack of fire, the oak structure remains very good. Large bur oaks are scattered throughout the ravine with red oak, white oak and hickory. Present in the understory is the rare great Indian-plantain (Arnoglossum reniforme). As one moves upslope from the ravine, a continuum or transition is evident as the moderately closed canopy slowly opens and provides a park-like appearance with large oaks and other savanna indicator species. With the presence of large oaks and other savanna species, restoration and management practices, such as prescribed burning and interseeding with native plants, will ensure a more rapid restoration of the savanna's important components. Yellowstone Savanna is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.

Access

Driving directions

From the junction of Highways 78 and F in Blanchardville, go west on F about 8 miles, then south on Lake Road about 0.6 mile to the park office and get a map. Blue Ridge Trail, Green Valley Loop, and Savannah Loop provide access to the natural area. The prairie is located south of the road along the northeast shore of Yellowstone Lake and west of the boat rental.

Ownership

Yellowstone Savanna 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 mesic prairie and oak opening restoration site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the site's natural communities. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native prairies and oak openings.

Management approach

The ecological characteristics of the site will be primarily shaped by an intensive fire management program. The native dominant savanna tree species (primarily oaks) form the basis for an oak savanna restoration. Some thinning of the canopy, understory manipulation and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Augmentation of the ground layer will only add species that historically would have been found on the site, using seeds or plugs from local genetic material; this usually occurs in the early stages of restoration. The old field has already been planted to native mesic prairie species, and will also be managed with brushing or fire. Other allowable activities throughout the site include control of invasive plants and animals, augmentation of native prairie species after careful review, 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 field roads is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.

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