- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Mount Pisgah Hemlock-Hardwoods (No. 15)
Within Wildcat Mountain State Park, Vernon County. T14N-R2W, Section 14. 65 acres.
Mt. Pisgah Hemlock-Hardwoods features a relict stand of hemlock and yellow birch along the meandering Kickapoo River in the heart of the Driftless Area. The sandstone cliffs are forested with hemlock, white pine, and white oak and support a number of uncommon pre-glacial plant species including Sullivant's cool-wort and the state-threatened moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina). The understory includes huckleberry, blueberry, pipsissewa, and bunchberry. On the north and northeast-facing slope is a hardwood forest of sugar maple and red oak with basswood, white oak, big-tooth aspen, white ash, and white birch. Shrubs include witch hazel, alternate leaved dogwood, round-leaved dogwood, and maple-leaved viburnum. Spring ephemerals are abundant and most of the area supports a mix of both northern and southern plant species. The area harbors numerous rare birds including Louisiana waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla), the state endangered worm-eating warbler (Helmitheros vermivorous), and three state-threatened species - cerulean (Dendroica cerulea) and Kentucky warblers (Oporornis formosus) and Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens). Mt. Pisgah is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1952.
From the intersection of Highways 131 and 33 in Ontario, go east and south on 33 about 2.5 miles, then southwest on Park Road 0.6 mile to the picnic area. Follow the Hemlock Trail into the site.
Mount Pisgah Hemlock-Hardwoods 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 hemlock relict, old-growth northern mesic forest, southern dry-mesic forest, and shaded cliff, as well as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest.
Native species are managed passively, allowing nature to determine the ecological characteristics. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, and maintenance of existing facilities. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.
- Site is within Wildcat Mountain State Park. Access is via park trails. Manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized when maintaining park trails within State Natural Area.
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]