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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Lower Narrows (No. 533)

Lower Narrows

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Sauk County. T12N-R7E, Section 26. 146 acres.

Description

Description

Lower Narrows SNA features a very scenic and unique geological feature of the Baraboo Range, and is an important educational tool that helps explain the glacial history of the area. About 900 feet wide and 230 feet high, the Narrows represents a historic break in the Baraboo Range through which the Baraboo River now flows. Historically, The Narrows was probably cut by a preglacial river before the last ice age some 12,000 years ago. Although most of the gorge is Precambrian Baraboo quartzite, part of the bluff is composed of rhyolite, and here one can see the vertical stratification in the Baraboo quartzite and also see the under laying volcanic rhyolite. The area is quite scenic and supports several rare and uncommon species including maidenhair spleenwort and eastern prickly-pear cactus. Along the west flank of the Narrows is a southern dry-mesic forest dominated by red oak, white oak, and basswood. The ground flora contains numerous showy spring-blooming wildflowers including Dutchman's-breeches, rue anemone, wild geranium, bloodroot, shooting star, and large-flowered bellwort. Other species include common ninebark, red elder, wild columbine, maidenhair fern, white baneberry, and black snakeroot. Lower Narrows is owned by the Wisconsin DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2006.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highway 33 and County T in Baraboo, go east on 33 4 miles, then go west on Man Mound Road 0.1 mile to a pull-off east of the road (into the old quarry).

Ownership

Lower Narrows 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.

Management

Management objectives and prescriptions

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