- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Point Beach Ridges (No. 87)
Within Point Beach State Forest, Manitowoc County. T20N-R25E, Sections 21, 28, 29, 31, 32. 558 acres.
Point Beach Ridges features a topography of 11 alternating ridges and swales paralleling the present Lake Michigan shoreline. Formed through the protracted lowering of glacial Lake Nippissing, the ridges and swales are actually old beaches deposited during the last 8,000 years. Except for a strip of dunes and beach along the lake, the area is forested with a variety of conifers and hardwoods. A range of successional stages is exhibited, varying from shifting sand to open swales and wooded ridges. The 11th swale from Lake Michigan is lightly forested with black ash and tamarack, and the 9th ridge has white pine, hemlock, white cedar, and yellow birch. Ridges 8 to 5 have more red maple and white birch. The transition to a sandier, drier, and sunnier environment continues to the east. Ridge 2 is stabilized by junipers, bearberry, and a host of sand plants. Ridge 1 and the sand beach east of it are vegetated with the unique and specialized flora of coastal beaches, of which undisturbed examples are rare. Several uncommon plants inhabit the dunes, including dune thistle (Cirsium pitcheri), clustered broom-rape (Orobanche fasciculata), thick-spike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus ssp. psammophilus), prairie sand-reed (Calamovilfa longifolia var. magna), and dune goldenrod (Solidago simplex var. gillmanii), all state-threatened. The endangered sand dune willow (Salix cordata) is also found here at its only known Wisconsin location. Point Beach Ridges is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1971.
From the junction of State Highway 42 and County Highway O in Two Rivers, go north on O 1.3 miles to a small, unmarked pull-off on the east side of the road. (This is 0.95 miles south of the junction of County Highway O and VV). Walk due east into the site along an overgrown access lane. A Wisconsin State Park sticker must be displayed on vehicles entering the forest.
Point Beach Ridges 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.
Manage the site as a reserve for Great Lakes beach and dune and Great Lakes ridge and swale communities, as a rare plant preserve, 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 beach, dune, ridge and swale ecosystems.
The native plants are managed passively. Other allowable activities across the entire site include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires.
- Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
- The bike trail and Ice Age Trail need occasional repair and maintenance.
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]