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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Straight Lake Tamarack Fen (No. 593)


Overview

Location

Within Straight Lake State Park and Wildlife Area, Polk County. T36N-R17W, Sections 13, 14. 85 acres.

Description

Description

Situated at the west end of Straight Lake is a diverse wetland complex that includes hardwood swamp, sedge meadow, alder thicket, and areas of tamarack swamp (fen). The hardwood swamp is relatively undisturbed, with a moderately closed canopy of 14-18" diameter black ash and yellow birch. The subcanopy is dense black ash and yellow birch with a very sparse shrub layer. The herb layer is moderately dense, dominated by brome-like sedge, cinnamon fern, and orange jewelweed. A few localized areas support sedge meadow surrounded by alder thicket, much of which occurs on a highly fragmented floating mat, possibly due to water level fluctuations, with firm mucky areas and numerous periodically open water channels. Characteristic plants include lake sedge and blue-joint grass. The tamarack fen is situated on a floating mat that is separated from the uplands by a small channel. The fen is dominated by tamarack with lesser amounts of black spruce, which is locally dominant in some areas. The subcanopy is sparse but includes winterberry, mountain holly, and alder. Sphagnum and ericaceous shrubs are present throughout. Sedges, especially cotton-grass and Carex species are dominant with other plants including marsh fern, marsh cinquefoil, great water dock, and small patches of skunk cabbage. Straight Lake Tamarack Fen is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2009.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highway 35 and 48 in Luck, go east on 48 4 miles, then north on 120th Street 1 mile, then west on 270th Avenue 0.35 miles to a small pull-off north of the road.

Ownership

Straight Lake Tamarack Fen 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.

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

  • 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
  • Geocaching

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For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

Last revised: Friday, September 05, 2014