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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Coon Fork Barrens (No. 313)

Coon Fork Barrens

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Eau Claire County. T26N - R5W, Sections 19, 20, 28, 29, 30. 580 acres.

Description

Description

Coon Fork Barrens features an extensive and diverse barrens community of variable composition and structure located between Coon Fork and Pea Creek, two Eau Claire River tributaries. The gently rolling to flat sandy uplands support a barrens which varies from open woodlands with jack pine and oak to open savanna and brush prairie. Jack pine dominates the area with occasional red pine and Hill's, black, white and bur oaks are present mainly as grub trees. Some areas of vegetation are heath-like with species including bracken fern, sweet gale, early low blueberry, American hazelnut, and Pennsylvania sedge. Other patches feature a rich sand prairie and savanna flora including big and little blue-stem, June grass, western sunflower, prairie coreopsis, wild lupine, lance-leaved loosestrife, sky-blue aster, prairie goldenrod, rough blazing-star, and cylindrical blazing-star. Additionally, the rich, moist low terraces and steep slopes along the creeks support species of white and red pine, and red maple. The barrens is critical habitat for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), which is common throughout the area. Wisconsin supports the largest and most widespread Karner blue butterfly population in the world, a disturbance-dependent species adapted to barrens and other early successional habitats that has been extirpated from much of its historic range. Thus, the protection and management of areas such as Coon Fork Barrens is critical to its continued survival. Coon Fork Barrens is owned by Eau Claire County and was designated a State Natural Area in 1996.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and County Highway G in Augusta, go east on Highway 12 1.6 miles, then northeast on County Highway CF (Coon Fork Road) 4.2 miles to a parking area just past the creek on the north side of the road. Ski/hiking trails traverse the site.

Ownership

Coon Fork Barrens is owned by:

  • Eau Claire County

Maps

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.

Recreation

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: Monday, August 14, 2017