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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Muir Park (No. 96)

Muir Park

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer



Within John Muir Memorial Park, Marquette County. T14N-R9E, Sections 14, 23. 150 acres.



Muir Park contains a variety of upland and wetland communities surrounding 30-acre Ennis Lake, a spring-fed kettle lake occupying a marshy pocket in ground moraine. The seepage lake has a marl bottom and a maximum depth of 30 feet. The surrounding vegetation is diverse and includes a rich fen that lies along an outlet stream, sedge meadow, and open bog, northern wet forest dominated by tamarack, southern dry forest, oak opening, and wet-mesic prairie. The calcareous fen and prairie contain a diversity of unusual and rare species including grass-of-parnassus, Kalm's lobelia, bottle gentian, and nodding lady's-tresses orchid. Rare plants include small fringed gentian (Gentianopsis procera), low nut-sedge (Scleria verticillata), prairie fameflower (Talinum rugosperum) and false asphodel (Tofieldia glutinosa). Big blue-stem, Indian grass, blazing-star, and prairie phlox are present in the low prairie, which grades into a spongy sedge meadow and tall shrub community. Tamarack, poison sumac, and bog birch, with numerous pitcher plants beneath, can be found in the bog near the lake's southeast corner. The area was settled in 1849 by the Ennis and Muir families and was the boyhood home of John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, who admired the natural beauty of the area. Muir Park is owned by Marquette County and was designated a State Natural Area in 1972.


Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 22 and County Highway F south of Montello, go south on F 7.6 miles to the park entrance. A trail and boardwalk lead around the lake. An improved boat launch provides access to the water for paddlers. Outboard motors are prohibited.


Muir Park is owned by:

  • Marquette County


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.


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.

Non-DNR lands

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the "Resource links" heading above. More details regarding allowable uses of this non-DNR owned SNA may be posted, if available, under the "Access" tab above.

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Other activities

Other allowable activities such as - but not limited to camping, geocaching and bicycling are determined by the landowner. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for details.

Last revised: Tuesday, October 04, 2016