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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Osceola Bedrock Glades (No. 386)

Osceola Bedrock Glades

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Polk County. T33N-R19W, Section 14. 39 acres.

Description

Description

Osceola Bedrock Glades is a large complex of rocky basalt bedrock exposures and one of only four well developed acid bedrock glades in Wisconsin. The site has a very distinctive glade flora and is exceptionally rich in ferns, mosses, and fungi. Bedrock glades are sparsely vegetated communities that develop on exposed relatively flat bedrock. Thus, these communities are rare because exposure of bedrock is itself a rare phenomenon. The bedrock provides harsh living conditions with very little water and virtually no soil. Only a limited number of plants and animals, specifically adapted to these harsh conditions, can survive here. Vegetation is often dominated by low-growing herbs or if trees are present, they are thin, gnarly, and stunted. Patches of woodland with a canopy of oaks are present in the surrounding area. Of note is the presence of the rare prairie fame-flower (Talinum rugospermum). Osceola Bedrock Glades is owned jointly by the National Park Service and DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 35 and 243 in Osceola, go northeast on 35 1.8 mile, then north on County S 1.1 mile to a parking area west of the road. The Ridgeview trail leads south into the site.

Ownership

Osceola Bedrock Glades is owned by:

  • National Park Service
  • 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 bedrock glade, as a significant geological site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and limited prescribed fire will determine the structure of the natural communities of this site. Provide opportunities for research and education on one of the highest quality native bedrock glades.

Management approach

The native species on the bedrock glade (primarily oaks) are managed in a mostly passive manner. However, some thinning of the canopy, understory manipulation, and shrub control via brushing or occasional fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Other allowable activities across the entire site include control of invasive plants and animals and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • The bedrock glade is fragile (particularly the lichens that are found there). Since trampling of lichens presents a threat to this community, public use is limited to the trail or researchers with permits.

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