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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program St. Peter's Dome (No. 420)

St. Peter's Dome

Photo by Linda Parker


Overview

Location

Within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Ashland County. T44N-R4W, Section 6. T45N-R4W, Sections 19, 20, 21, 28-33. 5,092 acres.

Description

Description

The highest point on the Chequamegon, St. Peter's Dome features a stream situated on a scenic chasm surrounded by a large block of unfragmented second-growth northern hardwood forest. The stream descends the Lake Superior escarpment in a gorge, which follows a fracture in Keweenawan granite. The gorge contains several low cliffs and occasional vertical cliffs, both moist and dry. Most of the lower gorge slopes are composed of moss-covered boulders 1-3 feet in size. The exposed bedrock features are used extensively by university groups studying Precambrian geology. The upland northern mesic forest contains extensive stands of maturing hemlock-hardwood and rich sugar maple-basswood forest along with significant inclusions of "old growth-like" forest. Other forest types include black ash-white cedar swamp, mixed swamp conifer, and dry-mesic forest. The northern mesic forest is dominated by rich sugar maple and basswood with scattered hemlock, yellow birch, white cedar, and pockets of mature white pine. Regeneration of white pine, hemlock, and white cedar is good and there are stable populations of Canada yew. The understory is rich with one of the most complete species assemblages on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Shrubs include mountain maple, alternate-leaved dogwood, red elder, leatherwood, and American fly-honeysuckle. Herbaceous species include Carolina spring-beauty, trillium, bellwort, rosy twisted-stalk, trout-lily, wild leek, wild ginger, red baneberry, and blue cohosh. White mandarin (Streptopus amplexifolius), a species of special concern in Wisconsin is also present. Open cliff faces, talus and cliff tops support an overstory of white pine, red pine, white cedar, mountain maple, gooseberries, blueberry, and bearberry. Herbs include pale corydalis, columbine, long-leaved bluets, and numerous ferns. Of interest is the presence of three rare fern species: fragrant fern (Dryopteris fragrans), spreading wood fern (Dryopteris expansa) and state-threatened Braun's holly fern (Polystichum braunii). Other notable features include the headwaters of several important cold water streams including Morgan, Frames, and Waboo Creeks, a full range of forest development in a natural matrix, the unroaded and remote nature of the site and the widest elevation gradient on the Forest (500 feet), and the 80 foot waterfall, Morgan Falls. St. Peter's Dome is owned by the US Forest Service and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.

Access

Driving directions

The site is approximately 15 miles south of Ashland with access from FR 199 (County Line Road), which runs along the western boundary of the site. Hiking, x-country ski, and snowmobile trails give access to the interior.

Ownership

St. Peter's Dome is owned by:

  • US Forest Service

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.

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.

Non-DNR lands

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. 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 of this non-DNR owned SNA may be posted, if available, under the "Access" tab above.

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Prohibited activities

  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
  • Collecting of animals, 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
  • Camping and campfires
  • Geocaching

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

Last revised: Thursday, August 14, 2014