- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Pleasant Valley Conservancy (No. 551)
Dane County. T7N-R6E, Sections 5, 8. 143 acres.
Located in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin, Pleasant Valley Conservancy sits on a long narrow ridge that runs almost due east/west, with steep hillsides facing both north and south. The site contains a nearly complete range of southern Wisconsin natural community types including oak woodland, oak savanna, dry and wet prairie, sedge meadow, shrub-carr, open marsh, and spring complex. The steep south-facing ridge supports several prairie remnants, which are now thriving after intensive management began in 1995. Plant species include big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass, side-oats grama, wood betony, bird's-foot violet, purple prairie clover, wood sorrel, and the uncommon prairie turnip (Pediomelum esculentum). The oak savannas, primarily on the ridge top, contain numerous large, open-grown bur and white oaks with many being over 150 years old. The savanna supports numerous grass, sedge, and forb species including the state-endangered purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens), which re-appeared after restoration and prescribed burning began. Other plants include silky rye, bottlebrush grass, ear-leaved brome, leadplant, large-flowered yellow false foxglove, Canada milk-vetch, Illinois tick-trefoil, alum-root, shooting star, and spiderwort. Other rare plants present are the state-threatened giant yellow hyssop (Agastache nepetoides), and special concern upland boneset (Eupatorium sessilifolium). The cooler north-facing slope is predominantly oak woodland with red oak, basswood, hackberry, butternut, yellowbud hickory, and red maple. The woodland contains a good variety of spring ephemerals such as bloodroot, Jacob's-ladder, large-flowered bellwort, yellow lady's-slipper orchid, large white trillium, and dutchman's breeches. The savanna and oak woodland support a diversity of bird species which include the red-headed woodpecker, a declining bird species of conservation concern. Other birds include blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern wood pewee, tufted titmouse, eastern bluebird, yellow-throated vireo, scarlet tanager, black-billed cuckoo, and yellow-billed cuckoo. Also present is the spring-fed Pleasant Valley Creek, which flows through the wetland and into East Blue Mounds Creek. Pleasant Valley Conservancy is owned in part by The Prairie Enthusiasts and by Tom and Kathie Brock with management support from the Savanna Oak Foundation, Inc.. It was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.
Take US Highway 14 to the Village of Black Earth. Go south on County F through the village and follow F for nearly 3.7 miles. Turn east (left) on Pleasant Valley Road and go 0.75 mile to the entrance of the preserve. Park along the road facing in. A hiking trail loops through the site. Hunting is by permission only. For more information visit: Pleasant Valley Conservancy.
Pleasant Valley Conservancy is owned by:
- Prairie Enthusiasts/Private
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.
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.
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.
- 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
For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]