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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Alvin Creek Headwaters (No. 443)

Alvin Creek Headwaters

Photo by US Forest Service


Overview

Location

Located within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Forest County. T40N-R13E Sections 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22. 887 acres.

Description

Description

The Alvin Creek complex presents an excellent opportunity to protect a unique assemblage of high-quality biological communities and glacial landforms. At the heart of the complex are the Alvin Creek headwaters wetlands, a unique area of springs and ponds, bogs and sedge meadows, alder thickets, and lowland forests of various types. Alvin Creek, part of the Brule River watershed, begins as the outlet of a seven-acre spring pond, flows into a small drainage lake, thence between drumlin ridges where the stream is mostly alder-lined and alternately associated with wet forests of black spruce/tamarack, white-cedar, and black ash. The areas surrounding the spring pond and lake are for the most part open and very wet and support a rich and unusual patchwork of bog, sedge meadow, and marsh species that defies formal community classification. Several rare and/or uncommon plant species occur here, including dragon's-mouth (Arethusa bulbosa) and tall white bog orchid (Platanthera dilatata). The surrounding uplands are forested mainly with hemlock-hardwood mixes, but also include some rich hardwoods and a small but excellent stand of old-growth hemlock under numerous super-canopy white pine. Upland stands on adjacent State Trust lands include minimally disturbed old-growth. Adjacent old-growth stands on National Forest lands are restricted to narrow zones on steep slopes bordering wetlands and are dominated by hemlock. Hemlock up to 30 inches in diameter is common in the best stands, mixed with sugar maple and yellow birch of comparable size. White pine forms a super-canopy in many of the older stands. Understories are generally quite open in the older stands, though sugar maple saplings are dense in a few places. The shrub layer is poorly developed, while the groundlayer varies from dense and diverse to rather sparse and species-poor, depending on soil and stand type. Intermediate wood fern, oak fern, maidenhair fern, lady fern, rosy twisted stalk, club-mosses, Canada mayflower, and American starflower are common groundlayer species. Alvin Creek and its tributary have a history of beaver activity and the most recent flooding, in the 1980's, resulted in the killing of many lowland forest stands, including stands of white-cedar and black ash. As evidenced by the numerous standing dead trees, flooding occurred along nearly the entire length of those portions of the creeks within the complex, including the headwaters spring pond area. The open bog surrounding the spring pond apparently suffered no lasting ill effects, as the rare plant populations are still present. Alvin Creek Headwaters is owned by the US Forest Service and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.

Access

Driving directions

The site is approximately 20 miles east of Eagle River on STH 70. Highway 70 forms north boundary of site. FR 2175, 2243, and 2427 provide further access.

Ownership

Alvin Creek Headwaters 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: Friday, November 14, 2014