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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Two Creeks Buried Forest (No. 50)

Two Creeks Buried Forest

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Manitowoc County. T21N-R24E, Section 2, NE¼. 16 acres.

Description

Description

Two Creeks Buried Forest provides a unique, precise record of the multiple glacial advances and retreats in this area during the Wisconsinan stage of glaciation. The historic forest became established between the Cary and Valders glacial substages. After temperatures warmed and the Cary glacier retreated northward, a mature boreal-like forest of black and white spruce, hemlock, pine, various mosses and other plants developed in the Two Creeks area near Lake Michigan. Shortly afterwards, the advancing Valders glacier blocked off the northern Lake Michigan drainageway, raising lake levels, flooding the forest and covering the ground with silt and clay, preventing decomposition. Later, when the southern end of the Valders glacier reached the area, it flattened the forest leaving behind another clay layer imbedded with logs and other debris. These layers of clay, silt, sand and the buried forest are visible on a steep bluff along the lakeshore where wave action and erosion have exposed the layers which contain long-buried branches, logs, and stumps of spruce, pine and hemlock trees. Conifer needles, cones, mosses, and terrestrial snails are also present within the layers. Unearthed wood, radiocarbon-dated at 11,850 before present, provides an absolute date on late-glacial sequences in the Lake Michigan Basin, and evidence that periods between substage glacial advances were long enough for forests to develop. Two Creeks Buried Forest is a unit of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve and has been a popular study site for North American geologists, botanists, glacial ecologists and climatologists. Removal of any material is strictly prohibited. Two Creeks Buried Forest is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1967.

Access

Driving directions

From Two Creeks, go north on State Highway 42 2 miles to County Highway BB at the Kewaunee County line. Park in the lot immediately east of the intersection and south of the restaurant. Walk southeast into the natural area.

Ownership

Two Creeks Buried Forest 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 glacial geology protection site. Buried forest materials are the primary purpose for protection and management on and around the lake shore. Another objective is to provide opportunities for research and education on 12,000-year-old glacial events.

Management approach

The buried forest is protected from surface soil disturbance, digging and removal of materials without a permit. Allowable management activities include maintenance of existing facilities, access to suppress wildfires, and salvage of trees after a major wind event.

Site-specific considerations

  • Over time, the high lake levels and wave action expose and wash away some material, which is natural and cannot be avoided.

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