- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Big Swamp Tamarack Fen (No. 598)
Within Big Swamp Wildlife Area, Buffalo County. T24N-R12W, Sections 1, 2. 354 acres.
Situated in a large wetland complex on the drainage divide between Bear and Farrington Creeks, Big Swamp Tamarack Fen is the largest tamarack relict in the Driftless Area. Since the mid 1980's, disease and/or insect infestation has killed many of the larger tamaracks leaving the smallest (less than 4 inches in diameter) to dominate. Poison sumac is abundant throughout the site. Other common species include bog birch, winterberry, willow, elderberry and red-osier dogwood. White pine of moderate size is located in the northwestern part of the swamp. The herb layer is diverse with bluejoint grass, wooly-fruit sedge, marsh fern, American manna grass, water horehound, boneset, creeping snowberry, swamp loosestrife, sensitive fern, royal fern, meadow-rue, and swamp saxifrage. Interesting animal observations include arctic shrew, orchard oriole, and northern harrier. Big Swamp Tamarack Fen is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2009.
From the intersection of Highways 10 and County A in Mondovi, go west on A 5.8 miles to a small parking area north of the road. Walk north on DNR Wildlife lands 0.4 miles into the natural area.
Big Swamp Tamarack Fen is owned by:
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.
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.
- Cross country skiing
- 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]