a natural area by name.
a natural area by county.
Explore outdoors
and find places to go.
Use our interactive map
to find natural areas.
and help care for SNAs.
Contact information
For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
State Natural Areas Program

State Natural Areas Program

COVID-19 Update

For public safety reasons, two State Natural Areas remain closed: Parfrey's Glen, and Pewits Nest. All Wildlife Areas and Fisheries Areas remain open. For more information, please visit the DNR's COVID-19 information webpage for the full list of conditions, including hours of operation, admission fees and more.

SNA Program logo State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin's native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites. Encompassing 406,000 acres on lands owned by the state and its many partners, including land trusts, local and county governments, and private citizens, Wisconsin's natural areas are valuable for research and educational use, the preservation of genetic and biological diversity and for providing benchmarks for determining the impact of use on managed lands. They also provide some of the last refuges for rare plants and animals.

Quincy Bluff in the fall SNA

Quincy Bluff and Wetlands is a large, landscape-scale natural area featuring a mosaic of communities. This unique area is located in the Central Sand Plain ecoregion of Wisconsin, the bed of extinct Glacial Lake Wisconsin. Photo by Thomas Meyer.

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway: Wetland of international importance

The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway is 92 miles of free flowing magic. It’s the Midwest’s longest undammed stretch of river and surrounding lands harbor hundreds of rare plants and animals and important geological, archaeological and historical sites. Now the riverway’s honored as a Wetland of International Importance. Enjoy this global gem on our virtual trip to State Natural Areas along the riverway.

The view of the Lower WI State Riverway from Ferry Bluff SNA

The view of the riverway from Ferry Bluff SNA. Photo by Thomas Meyer.

Small paddles, big rewards: paddling Wisconsin's State Natural Areas

A number of State Natural Areas preserve wild lakes and stream stretches that you can explore by canoe or kayak. Take a look at these 12 easy, water-based trips to SNAs that offer a few hours of peaceful paddling in places that celebrate Wisconsin’s natural heritage.

Launch the paddle guide story map or download a printable version.

Blackjack Springs SNA

Paddling in Blackjack Springs State Natural Area.

Exploring State Natural Areas

In this short video, learn about the SNA program that protects outstanding native landscapes throughout Wisconsin. Natural areas provide unique places for low-impact recreation, including hiking and fishing. Hunting is also allowed on most DNR-owned sites.

Last revised: Friday, October 16, 2020