Diamond Roof State Natural Area
Notable: Diamond Roof is a nearly 1,500-acre natural area complex of upland hardwood forest, fast-flowing rocky creeks, conifer swamp, small lakes and spring ponds. The northern hardwood includes sugar maple, basswood, white ash, yellow birch, paper birch, black cherry, ironwood, beech and butternut. Three creeks wind through the complex: Sasacat Creek, Nine Mile Creek and McCaslin Brook. The boulder-strewn ravine of the latter supports the state-threatened Braunís holly fern (Polystichum braunii), an evergreen fern indicative of areas exposed to cold-air drainage. Common streambank species are lady fern, intermediate wood fern, naked miterwort, twin-leaf miterwort, and bulblet fern. Large, decaying tree limbs, stumps and trunks on the ground provide ecological niches for many small organisms and are an indicator of older-growth conditions. Surrounding the creeks are lowland conifer swamp and northern wetmesic forest dominated by white cedar, black spruce, balsam fir and yellow birch. Of special note is the presence of the state-threatened marsh valerian (Valeriana uliginosa), a species found only in highly alkaline environments. Three remote and beautiful lakes – McCaslin Spring and Upper and Lower Hiwanka Lakes – can be found here.
How to get there: Within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. From the intersection of State Highway 32 and County Highway T in Townsend (Oconto County), go north on Highway 32 3.9 miles, then south and west on Forest Road 2123 (Diamond Roof Road) 3.3 miles to McCaslin Brook. Follow the creek west into the site. Access is also available from Ada Lake Road to the west. Visit Diamond Roof for information and a map of the site.