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a natural area by name.
a natural area by county.
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Contact information
For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
State Natural Areas Program

State Natural Areas Program

COVID-19 Update

On Friday, May 1 and at the direction of Gov. Evers, the department will reopen state parks, forests and sites within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway with special conditions. Four State Natural Areas will remain closed: Parfrey's Glen, Pewits Nest, Gibraltar Rock and Dells of the Wisconsin River. 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 402,000 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.

Van Vliet Hemlocks SNA

Van Vliet Hemlocks protects an ecologically significant stretch of undeveloped lake frontage and harbors one of the largest, old-growth hemlock-hardwood forests in this region - now very rare in Wisconsin. Photo by Thomas Meyer.

Visit a State Natural Area gem within a State Park near you

Clouds and sky in Wisconsin

A boardwalk provides access through Big Bay Sandspit and Bog SNA. Photo by Melody Walsh.

State Natural Areas protect the very best of Wisconsin’s flora, fauna and native landscapes, from wildflower-studded prairies to towering old-growth forests, and from boggy wetlands to Great Lakes dunes. Dozens of these special places are located within State Park boundaries and are worth the effort to seek them out.

Launch the SNA gems of State Parks story map

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: Thursday, September 17, 2020