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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Swan Lake Sedge Meadow and Barrens (No. 665)

Swan Lake Sedge Meadow and Barrens

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Resource links:

Swan Lake Wildlife Area


Overview

Location

Within Swan Lake Wildlife Area, Columbia County. T12N-R9E, Sections 10, 11, 15. 702 acres.

Description

Description

Swan Lake Sedge Meadow and Barrens features and upland island and peninsula supporting oak barrens, savanna, and prairie remnants surrounded by a high quality sedge meadow with fen components. Black oak dominates the barrens at the north end of the site with white oak and red maple present in smaller numbers. The understory is dominated by Pennsylvania sedge and bracken fern. Characteristic forbs include bird's-foot violet, wild columbine, frostweed, prairie alumroot, bastard toadflax, prairie pholox, wood betony, Cynthia, and common spiderwort. Hazelnut and early low blueberry are abundant in the shrub layer. Several openings are present on the island and represent former agricultural fields and homesteads. Areas of sand prairie are present and contain such species as switchgrass, little bluestem, June grass, sedges, arrow-leaved violet, lyre-leaved rock cress, hoary puccoon, and blue-eyed grass. At the south end of the site, oak barrens are also present along with oak opening and small areas of dry prairie. The terrain here has numerous esker-like ridges with wet swales. Bur oak is present along with cylindrical blazing star, whorled milkweed, leadplant, side-oats grama, silky aster, prairie dropseed, Kalm's brome and needle grass. This area provides good habitat for a number of rare herptiles. Swan Lake Sedge Meadow and Barrens is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2012.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of US Highway 51 and State Highway 16 in Portage, go south on 51 2.6 miles, then east on County P 0.6 miles to a DNR parking area north of the road.

Ownership

Swan Lake Sedge Meadow and Barrens 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

  • 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