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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Plagge Woods (No. 121)

Plagge Woods

Photo by Aaron Carlson



Chippewa County. T32N-R7W, Section 11. 81 acres.



Plagge Woods is an old-growth northern mesic forest perched atop a monadnock, an isolated rock of conglomerate and quarzite rising 3-400 feet above the countryside. The forest is dominated by sugar maple, basswood, and red and white oak, which covers both the north and south slopes of a ridge on the southeastern edge of the Flambeau Ridge. The forest has a wide range of tree size classes, from seedling and sapling maples to the canopy layer of mature trees, some more than 30 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh). A few white pines on the north side of the tract are in the 3-foot dbh class. Groundlayer species are typical mesic woodland plants such as bedstraws, large-leaved aster, golden saxifrage (in springs), baneberries, miterworts, spring beauty, Canada mayflower, wild geranium, and violets. The site was donated by Henry and August Plagge. Plagge Woods is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1975.


Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 27 and M, just east of Holcombe, go west on County M (through Holcombe) 4.25 miles, then north on 240th St. 3.1 miles to the northeast corner of the site.


Plagge Woods 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 old-growth northern mesic forest reserve and ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest.

Management approach

The property is primarily managed passively, allowing nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, access to suppress wildfires, and maintenance of existing facilities. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Site-specific considerations

  • Trees fallen onto or leaning over the south fence line can be cut, but left on site.


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
  • Drone use, unless authorized by a SNA research permit
  • 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, December 15, 2017