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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Yellow River Floodplain Forest (No. 580)

Yellow River Floodplain Forest

Photo by Josh Mayer

Resource links:

Sandhill Wildlife Area


Overview

Location

Within Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood County. T21N-R3E, Sections 10, 11. 86 acres.

Description

Description

Situated along the meandering Yellow River, this mature, intact floodplain forest is dominated by silver maple with river birch, basswood, and red oak. The canopy is composed of large trees with a good mix of size and age classes. Protection of intact stands of bottomland forest is a high priority along this river corridor and opportunities are increasingly scarce on this landscape. A rich and diverse ground layer includes spring ephemerals such as trout-lily, spring-beauty, and bloodroot. Other species are nodding trillium, Virginia waterleaf, green dragon, meadow-rue, woodland phlox, marsh marigold, golden ragwort, swamp rose, false mayflower, Michigan lily, Sprengel's sedge, fox sedge, and bluejoint grass. This assemblage of understory plants is highly localized and relatively rare within this area. The Yellow River flows through the site and is of extremely low gradient, with many meanders, oxbows, sloughs, and ponds. This stretch of river is an important component of a highly significant riverine corridor that is threatened by intensive timber harvest and, in some areas, cranberry farm development. Birds include pileated woodpecker, eastern phoebe, wood duck, and the state-threatened red-shouldered hawk. Yellow River Floodplain Forest is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2008.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 173 and 80 in Babcock, go south on 80/173 one mile, then west on County X 0.85 miles. The site lies 0.35 miles to the east. Or canoe downstream from Dexter County Park about 3 miles to the natural area.

Ownership

Yellow River Floodplain 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 floodplain forest reserve, 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 floodplain forests.

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.

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