Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Photo of State Natural Area Photo: Thomas Meyer

Mud Lake Bog State Natural Area
Thomas Meyer

August 2012

Wisconsin, naturally

Mud Lake Bog

Notable: A soggy, floating mat of sedges, sphagnum moss, peat and specialized bog plants fringes an undisturbed lake fed by alkaline springs. Venturing out onto the trembling raft of vegetation rewards visitors with cranberries, grass pink orchids (in spring) and insectivorous plants such as round-leaved sundew, pitcher plant and bladderwort. Surrounding the mat is a more stable zone containing black spruce, tamarack, royal and cinnamon ferns and bog shrubs including leatherleaf, bog rosemary and Labrador tea. This zone grades into a second-growth northern mesic forest of sugar maple and oak. Imbedded in a larger landscape characterized by drumlins and wetlands, the 30-acre lake lies in a basin marked by a distinct 15-foot elevation drop. White and yellow water lilies and a diversity of submerged pondweeds are rooted in the mucky bottom. A small outlet stream leads to the Little Wolf River one mile to the south. Black terns nest here and waterfowl make extensive use of the natural area during migration.

How to get there: From the intersection of County Highways C and G in Big Falls (Waupaca County), go west on C about 3 miles, then north on County J 1.2 miles, then west and north on Mud Lake Road 1.9 miles to a parking area east of the road. Walk southeast through the woods and down the slope into the bog. The bog mat is best developed on the northwest side of the lake. Visit Wisconsin DNR and search "Mud Lake Bog" for information and a map of the site.