- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Day Lake (No. 189)
Within the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest, Vilas County. T41N-R6E, Sections 1, 2. 209 acres.
Extremely scenic and undeveloped, Day Lake is a 117-acre seepage lake with very sterile, exceptionally clear water. The lake's sandy bed is visible in 28 feet of water and supports an excellent example of 'sterile rosette flora' - small stiff-leaved plants that hug the bottom. These small plants are indicative of the very soft water conditions. The specialized flora includes the rare plantain shoreweed (Littorella uniflora), water lobelia, and quillwort. Other aquatic plants include dwarf water milfoil, seven-angle pipewort, small waterwort, and narrow-leaved bur-reed. Emergent vegetation consisting of sweet gale, leather-leaf, alder, and three-way sedge forms a zone along the lakeshore. The lake has a watershed of only 510 acres and 3.5 miles of gravelly upland shoreline. Bass and panfish comprise the fishery. Day Lake is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1983.
From the intersection of Highways 51 and 47 in Woodruff, go north on Highway 51 10 miles, then north and west on Day Lake Road 3.5 miles, then south on Day Lake Landing Road 0.2 mile to a boat landing at the north end of Day Lake. The lake and shoreline is best explored by canoe or kayak. It has more than 3.5 miles of undeveloped shoreline, making for an enjoyable paddle. Electric motors only are permitted on the lake.
Day 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 an aquatic preserve and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the aquatic communities. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality aquatic communities.
The native aquatic species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the lake. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, and maintenance of existing facilities.
- Two primitive campsites and a canoe access will be maintained to Department standards. Manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance within the Natural Area should be minimized to the extent possible.
- Management of the uplands will follow Best Management Practices for Water Quality.
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]