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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Powers Bluff Maple Woods (No. 131)

Powers Bluff Maple Woods

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer

Resource links:

Powers Bluff County Park



Within Powers Bluff County Park, Wood County. T24N-R4E, Sections 29, 30 E½SE¼. 70 acres.



Powers Bluff Maple Woods features a mature southern mesic forest perched on a 300 foot high monadnock, an isolated remnant hill made of erosion resistant quartzite. The 1.6 billion-year-old bluff is round-shaped due to the durability of the quartzite, which has resisted erosion. This contrasts with other less durable sandstone bluffs in the area that have weathered parallel to their vertical planes giving them very steep slopes. Dominant trees are sugar maple, yellow birch, and bitternut hickory with scattered red oak, white ash, and basswood. The understory is quite open and there is little herbaceous groundcover due to the low light levels. Some common species include plantain-leaved sedge, blue cohosh, maidenhair fern, and bloodroot. The forest floor is strewn with boulders and two boulder trains extend southeast and southwest from the bluff suggesting that glacial ice moved over and around the bluff from at least two different directions. On the south end are quartzite outcrops with columbine and common polypody fern. Also present is little goblin moonwort (Botrychium mormo), a Wisconsin endangered plant. This tiny fern is associated with nutrient rich sites and sometimes does not appear above the leaf litter of the forest floor. Birds found are typical mesic forest species including least flycatcher, eastern wood pewee, red-eyed vireo, ovenbird, and scarlet tanager. The site may still harbor the rare woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum), which was present here in the past. Powers Bluff Maple Woods is owned by Wood County and was designated a State Natural Area in 1976.


Driving directions

From the intersection of County Highways N and E on the west side of Arpin, go south on E 1 mile, then west on Bluff Drive 1.1 miles to the entrance to Powers Bluff County Park. The natural area covers the eastern portion of the park.


Powers Bluff Maple Woods is owned by:

  • Wood 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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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

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

Last revised: Friday, January 29, 2016