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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program DuPage Lake Peatlands (No. 502)

DuPage Lake Peatlands

Photo by Josh Mayer


Overview

Location

Within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Iron County. T42N-R4E, Section 3. T43N-R4E, Sections 22-27, 33-35. 3,221 acres.

Description

Description

DuPage Lake Peatlands features a vast peatland complex just north of the Manitowish River. Open bog, muskeg, and black spruce swamp are the predominant vegetation although scattered patches of old-growth hemlock and islands of old-growth pine also occur. In all, the site supports 8 undeveloped lakes including DuPage Lake, a deep 32-acre lake with very soft water. East of the lake are several stands of old-growth hemlock hardwood forest, which are especially noteworthy as they contain super-canopy white and red pine. The boggy wetlands have a deep carpet of sphagnum mosses and support ericaceous shrubs including cranberry, bog laurel, leatherleaf, sedges, and insectivorous plants. Stunted black spruce and tamarack are scattered throughout the wetland and in some places form a closed canopy bog forest. Of note are numerous rare plants that are supported within this large complex. The undeveloped lakes and large nesting trees are also important habitat for osprey. Other birds include common loon, sharp-shinned hawk, and broad-winged hawk. DuPage Lake Peatlands is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.

Access

Driving directions

From Mercer, go east on County Highway J 4.5 miles, then south on Belding Road 0.9 miles to a boat access.

Ownership

DuPage Lake Peatlands 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 reserve for open bog, muskeg, black spruce swamp and old growth northern mesic forest, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native wetlands.

Management approach

The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Site-specific considerations

  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township.

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: Friday, December 15, 2017