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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Emmons Creek Barrens (No. 365)

Emmons Creek Barrens

Photo by Josh Mayer


Overview

Location

Within Emmons Creek Fishery Area and Hartman Creek State Park, Portage County. T21N-R10E, Section 12. T21N-R11E, Section 7. 201 acres.

Description

Description

Located on sandy glacial outwash, Emmons Creek Barrens supports a semi-open oak savanna with scattered open-grown bur and white oaks. The dense patches of wild lupine, which dominates the groundlayer, provides favorable habitat for the federally endangered karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). Wild lupine is the only known larval food plant of the karner blue. Other species include Pennsylvania sedge, little blue-stem, silky aster, cream wild indigo, prairie coreopsis, western sunflower, June grass, slender beard-tongue, and showy goldenrod. Emmons Creek Barrens is owned by the DNR and a private individual. It was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.

Access

Driving directions

From the junction of Highways 10 and 54 in Waupaca, go west on 54 4.5 miles, then south on Hartman Creek Road to the State Park office and get a park map. Continue south on Hartman Creek Road, then go west on W. Windfeldt Lane to one of two parking areas. Follow the Ice Age Trail south into the natural area. One portion is within the State Park, the other within the Fishery and Wildlife Area.

Ownership

Emmons Creek Barrens is owned by:

  • WDNR
  • Private

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 an oak barrens reserve, as a Karner blue butterfly restoration site, 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 oak barrens.

Management approach

The native dominant savanna tree species (primarily oaks) are managed passively. However, 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 species; this usually occurs in the early stages of restoration. The mostly passive canopy management and understory manipulation will determine the ecological characteristics of the site. 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 park roads is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • Pine plantations will be harvested and restored to sand prairie and oak barrens.
  • Monitoring of Karner blue butterfly populations occurs regularly, and helps guide management systems.
  • A segment of the Ice Age Trail and associated information kiosks are located on the site and will be maintained to Department standards.

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.

Hunting and trapping

This SNA has multiple landowners: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. In general, most DNR-owned land allows hunting and trapping. Partner-owned land may have other rules (for example, university-owned lands do not allow hunting or trapping). Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the "Resource links" heading above. More details regarding allowable uses on the non-DNR land may be found under the "Access" tab above, if available.

Allowable activities: DNR-owned land

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: all SNAs

  • 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
  • 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]

Last revised: Thursday, October 19, 2017