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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
608-266-0394

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Brady's Bluff Prairie (No. 9)

Brady's Bluff Prairie

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer

Resource links:

Perrot State Park


Overview

Location

Within Perrot State Park, Trempealeau County. T18N-R9W, Section 20. 65 acres.

Description

Description

Brady's Bluff Prairie is a dry bluff prairie on a steep, southwest facing Mississippi River bluff that rises nearly 460 feet above the river. The bluff, composed of sandstone capped with Prairie du Chien dolomite, affords a spectacular view of the river valley from its summit. The prairie contains over 100 species of native Wisconsin plants including big and little blue-stem, needle grass, hairy grama, silky aster, and rough blazing-star. Other species of note include hairy four-o-clock, prairie larkspur, and plains muhly, all species of the Great Plains that are at or near their northeastern limit here. Rare plants inhabiting the prairie include cliff goldenrod (Solidago sciaphila), jeweled shooting-star (Dodecatheon radicatum), and dragon sagewort (Artemesia dranunculus). Several rare animals are also harbored by the natural area including three butterflies - olive hairstreak (Callophyrs gryneus), striped hairstreak (Satyrium lipaops strigosum), and columbine dusky-wing (Erynnis lucilus) along with the state threatened wing snaggletooth land snail (Gastrocopta procera). Brady's Bluff Prairie is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1952.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 35 and Main Street in Trempealeau, go south on Main Street about two blocks, then west into Perrot State Park on South Park Road 2.6 miles to a parking lot west of the road. Access via the Brady's Bluff hiking trail.

Ownership

Brady's Bluff Prairie 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 dry prairie and oak opening reserve and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the natural communities. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native prairies and oak openings.

Management approach

The ecological characteristics of the site will be primarily shaped by an intensive fire management program. In the prairie, the native species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Occasional fire-tolerant oaks, hickories, and native shrubs such as hazelnut may be retained at low densities. Augmentation of local origin native prairie species may occur after careful review. In the oak opening and associated uplands, the native dominant savanna tree species (primarily oaks) are managed passively. However, some thinning of the canopy, understory manipulation and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Augmentation of the ground layer will only add species that historically would have been found on the site, using seeds or plugs from local genetic material; this usually occurs in the early stages of restoration. The mostly passive canopy management and understory manipulation will determine the ecological characteristics of the savanna. Other allowable activities on the entire site include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. In the oak opening, salvage of trees after a major wind event can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • 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.
  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically.

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: Thursday, August 14, 2014