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- Natural areas
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- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Camp Lake and Pines (No. 506)
Within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Vilas County. T41N-R6E, Sections 26, 27, 34. 243 acres.
Camp Lake and Pines features a dry-mesic forest bordering the east and south sides of Camp Lake, an undisturbed soft-water seepage lake. The canopy is dominated by large red pine and white pine with red oak, red maple, paper birch, balsam fir, big-tooth aspen, and white spruce. The tall shrub layer is composed primarily of beaked hazelnut. Low shrubs and herbs are wintergreen, Canada mayflower, American starflower, early low blueberry, velvet-leaf blueberry, trailing arbutus, and pipsissewa. The forest, although small in extent, is mature and shows little evidence of recent disturbance. Old-growth structural characteristics are beginning to appear. The 37-acre Camp Lake has extremely soft, clear water and a sand and gravel bottom. The flora includes a number of plants that are adapted to the highly oligotrophic (infertile) conditions and are able to absorb CO2 from the sediment through their roots. This rare plant group, called "sterile rosette flora", are small stiff-leaved plants that hug the lake bottom and are indicative of the lake's soft-water conditions. Plants include water lobelia, seven-angle pipewort, small waterwort, slender water-milfoil, brown-fruited rush, and golden-pert. Other plants of note are hidden-fruited bladderwort, northeastern bladderwort, and clustered beak-rush. Rare and uncommon birds using the lake include American black duck, bald eagle, and common loon. Other birds are blackburnian warbler, pine warbler, pileated woodpecker, and ovenbird. Camp Lake and Pines is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.
From the junction of County M and Highway 51 (ca. 6 miles north of Woodruff), go north on 51 nearly one mile, then west on Woods Road 1.9 miles to the north end of Camp Lake.
Camp Lake and Pines 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 northern dry-mesic forest preserve and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Note: It is understood that over the course of time, the red pine/oak component will decrease under a passive management regime. Other State Natural Areas, however, are managed to maintain an old-growth oak cover type. Both management scenarios are needed as ecological reference areas.
The native dominant tree species (primarily red pines and oaks) are managed passively, and will gradually convert over time to a more mesic forest condition. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.
- Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township.
- A wildfire in 2009 burned both peninsulas near the center of the lake, and can provide a monitoring opportunity for regeneration of pine and oak.
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, 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]