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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Peat Lake (No. 106)

Peat Lake

Photo by Josh Mayer



Kenosha County. T1N-R20E, Section 32. 228 acres.



Peat Lake is a small shallow lake with very low water levels in most years and a maximum depth of five feet. The lake is situated in ground moraine and contains a wide belt of sedge meadow and cattail marsh. Peat Lake does not have a significant fishery; it supports only carp. The bottom is muck with occasional marl mounds. Although not especially diverse in aquatic plants, bladderwort, several pondweeds, and yellow and white water-lilies can be found. Cat-tail, softstem bulrush, and marsh loosestrife dominate the shoreline. Pickerel-weed is common on the east shore. The uplands were formerly grazed. Wildlife use is heavy, especially birds. Recorded nesting species are mallard, blue winged teal, wood duck, great-blue and green-backed herons, Virginia and king rails, sora, American woodcock, swamp sparrow, common yellowthroat, American and least bitterns, and four swallow species. Peat Lake is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1973.


Driving directions

From the intersection of County C and County JF in Trevor, go south on JF 0.5 miles, then west on 122nd Street 1.4 miles, then south on 280th Street 0.3 miles to a parking area west of the road.

NOTE: with the exception of gun deer hunting, a majority of this site is a "No entry wildlife refuge" and closed to the public from Sept 1-Dec 31. The easternmost 50 acres is open year-round. For more information see the property map and visit Wis. Adm. Code Ch. 15.024 [exit DNR].


Peat Lake is owned by:

  • WDNR


The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.

The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.


Site objectives

Manage the site as an aquatic reserve, wetland protection area, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural communities, along with prescribed vegetation manipulation in the wetlands. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality aquatic and wetland ecosystems.

Management approach

The native aquatic species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the lake. The native wetland species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using cutting, brushing and fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Other allowable activities throughout the site include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • A field road divides share cropped agricultural fields in the northern part of the site from the natural area in the southern part of the site. Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near this road is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • Fields in the northern part of the site are currently share cropped, and will eventually be restored to wet-mesic prairie using locally collected seed.
  • With the exception of deer hunting, the site is a "No entry wildlife refuge" and closed to the public from Sept 1-Dec 31.


Management objectives and prescriptions


Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

Allowable activities

In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted under the "Access" tab above and posted with signs on site.

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hunting
  • Trapping

Prohibited activities

  • Camping and campfires
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

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Last revised: Friday, October 26, 2018