Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Autumn breezes and turning leaves paint a colorful scene at the Yellow River Ice-walled Lake Plain State Natural Area in Taylor County. © Thomas A. Meyer

Autumn breezes and turning leaves paint a colorful scene at the Yellow River Ice-walled Lake Plain State Natural Area in Taylor County.
© Thomas A. Meyer

October 2009

Wisconsin, naturally

Yellow River Ice-walled Lake Plain State Natural Area

Notable: At the close of the Ice Age, a large pit in the stagnating glacier held water confined by walls of ice. Fine-grained sediments carried by meltwater accumulated in the lake bottom. When the ice walls melted and the lake drained away, a low, plateau-like feature – called an ice-walled lake plain – remained. This is one of few in Wisconsin that has not been farmed, logged, or disturbed. The rich, sedimentary soils support a diverse forest and a very showy spring flora more typical of southern Wisconsin. Glade fern (Diplazium pycnocarpon), and the state-endangered goblin fern (Botrychium mormo) are among the rare plants found here.

How to get there: Within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. From Perkinstown (Taylor County), go north on County M for 2.1 miles, then continue north on FR (Forest Road) 112 for 0.9 mile, then west on FR 575 (Sheep Ranch Road) 1.5 miles, then west on FR 1547 about 0.5 mile to the site. The natural area lies on both sides of the road. See Yellow River Ice-walled Lake Plain for more information.