- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Spring Lake (No. 94)
Within Northern Unit Kettle Moraine State Forest, Fond du Lac County. T13N-R19E, Sections 14, 15. 37 acres.
Spring Lake is a clear, alkaline lake surrounded by fen and northern wet forest with an unusual flora and fauna. Aquatic vegetation is sparse and consists of yellow water-lily, bladderworts, pondweeds, and chara. The shoreline is an undercut bog shelf under which fish find refuge. Northern pike, large mouth bass, perch, bullhead, and green sunfish are found in spite of a maximum water depth of 1.5 feet. An open mat of vegetation dominated by narrow-leaved cat-tails and bulrushes surrounds the lake, and many sedges and forbs characteristic of both acid bogs and calcareous fens occur together. The narrow mat gives way to a tamarack forest on the east; to the south the swamp forest is composed of elm, red maple, yellow birch, and tamarack. Along the northwestern shore is a shrubby region of bog birch, willows, dogwood, and elder. Poison sumac is abundant throughout the site. Breeding bird surveys have shown an abundance of warbler species including blue-winged, golden-winged, black and white, Nashville, mourning, and yellow. Spring Lake is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1971.
From the intersection of State Highway 67 and County G just west of Dundee, go south on G about 3.4 miles, then west on East Lake Road 0.3 mile (disregard “private road” signs, if present). Walk south into the natural area. Visitors should be aware of abundant poison sumac.
Spring Lake 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 calcareous fen and northern wet forest, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest and associated wetlands. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native calcareous fens and northern wet forests.
The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.
- Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near state-approved snowmobile trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance must be minimized, and must have no impact on the rare species found at the site
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 (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
- Camping and campfires
For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]