Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Early light at Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area in Kenosha County. © Thomas A. Meyer, Wisconsin DNR

Early light at Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area in Kenosha County.
© Thomas A. Meyer, Wisconsin DNR

April 2009

Wisconsin, naturally

Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area

Notable: An exceptionally diverse lowland prairie complex of sedge meadow, calcareous fen, oak opening and wet prairie along Lake Michigan hosts more than 400 vascular plant species. The variety of habitats, coupled with their location in the extreme southeastern corner of the state, allows several rare and geographically restricted plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, invertebrates, and mammals to thrive here, including 10 plant species listed as endangered or threatened. The shooting star display in the spring is especially stunning, but the prairie offers color and motion in all seasons.

How to get there: The natural area consists of two parts, separated by 116th Street. The south portion (managed by The Nature Conservancy) is a large, contiguous prairie area; the northern part (managed by the DNR) is fragmented by roads and homes. Southern access: from the junction of State Highways 165 and 32 south of Kenosha, go south on 32 one mile, then east on 116th Street 0.3 mile. The SNA lies east of the railroad tracks and south of 116th. The northern portion is reached via the network of roads between 116th Street and 85th Street. See Chiwaukee Prairie for a map and more information.