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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Kohler Park Dunes (No. 71)

Kohler Park Dunes

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer

Resource links:

Kohler-Andrae State Park


Overview

Location

Within Kohler-Andrae State Park, Sheboygan County. T14N-R23E, Sections 22, 23. 135 acres.

Description

Description

Embracing the shore of Lake Michigan, Kohler Park Dunes contains active and stabilized lake dunes, interdunal wetlands, and a small dry-mesic white pine forest. More than one mile of Lake Michigan beach is included in the natural area. Several interdunal wetlands (called pannés) are thickly vegetated with lakeshore rush and sedges. Some of the common plants that stabilize the dunes are sand reed, marram grass, Canada wild rye, northern wheat grass, common and trailing junipers, sand cherry, and willow species. Three state-threatened plants are found in the dunes: clustered broom-rape (Orobanche fasciculata), dune goldenrod (Solidago simplex var. gillmanii) and dune thistle (Cirsium pitcheri). The dunes may also still harbor the only known population of the state-endangered prairie moonwort (Botrychium campestre), a tiny fern that was observed here in 1985, but has not been relocated since. In autumn, the skies above the dunes are often frequented by migrating raptors, while the low shrubs and pannés are very attractive to passerines. An extensive wooden cordwalk, with overlooks at several points, provides hiking opportunities through this sensitive ecosystem. Kohler Park Dunes is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1969.

Access

Driving directions

From the junction of Interstate Highway 43 and County Highway V, about 3 miles south of Sheboygan, go east on V about 2 miles to Kohler-Andrae State Park. Follow the signs to the Sanderling Nature Center. The natural area includes all of the dunes north of Old Park Road, east of the park access road, and south of Beach Park Lane, except the intensive use area around the nature center. A boardwalk provides access. A Wisconsin State Park sticker must be displayed on all vehicles entering the park.

Ownership

Kohler Park Dunes 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.

Management

Site objectives

Manage the site as a reserve for Great Lakes dune and interdunal swale, as a rare plant reserve, as a significant geological site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural communities of this site. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native Great Lakes dune systems.

Management approach

The native Great lakes dunes and interdunal swales are managed passively. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event can occur if the volume of woody material affects trails and access.

Site-specific considerations

  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near trails and field roads is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • Cordwalks may need occasional repair and repositioning.

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: Monday, October 27, 2014