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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Comstock Bog-Meadow (No. 123)

Comstock Bog-Meadow

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer



Marquette County. T16N-R10E, Sections 10, 11, 14, 15. 657 acres.



Lying within a 1000-acre natural basin in the glaciated Central Plain, Comstock Bog-Meadow features a large, quaking sedge meadow marsh with a high diversity of unusual plants. The undisturbed marsh is permanently wet and relatively free of water fluctuations. The south end lies on a drainage divide and is dominated by narrow leaved sedges with many acid bog plants occurring on the quaking, rhizomatous mat. Of particular interest is the unique assemblage of plants with many characteristic calcareous wetland species growing in association with bog species including twig rush, grass-of-Parnassus, marsh fern, pitcher plant, bladderworts, and sundews. Northward and westward the species composition changes to more closely resemble a sedge meadow. Except for a small area of tamarack, poison sumac, and bog birch, the entire tract is treeless. The marsh is used by a variety of small mammals, muskrat, mink, and birds. Sandhill cranes nest in the marsh and use the area as a fall staging site. In 1851, the original land surveyors described the area as a wet, quaking marsh, "over which we crossed with not a little danger to our lives." Comstock Bog-Meadow is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1975.


Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highways 23 and 22 in Montello, go north on 22 4.8 miles, then east on County Highway J 1.0 mile, then north and east on Edgewood Road 1.0 mile to a parking lot north of the road. Alternatively, from the junction of 22 and J, go north 0.6 mile to an access lane on the east side of the road, then east 0.25 mile to a parking area.


Comstock Bog-Meadow 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 a southern sedge meadow reserve, as an oak barrens restoration site, as a wetland protection area, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed vegetation manipulation will determine the structure of the wetland communities. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality sedge meadows.

Management approach

The sedge meadow species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. The native dominant savanna tree species (primarily oaks) form the basis for an oak barrens restoration. Some thinning of the canopy, understory manipulation and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Augmentation of the ground layer will only add species that historically would have been found on the site, using seeds or plugs from local genetic material; this usually occurs in the early stages of restoration. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township.
  • Two parking areas are maintained for visitors.
  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near state-approved snowmobile trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance must be minimized, and must have no impact on the rare species found at the 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
  • 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: Thursday, October 11, 2018