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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Peninsula Park White Cedar Forest (No. 13)

Peninsula Park White Cedar Forest

Photo by Josh Mayer

Resource links:

Peninsula State Park



Within Peninsula State Park, Door County. T31N-R27E, Sections 28, 29. 64 acres.



Peninsula Park White Cedar Forest features a continuum of five distinct community types that change with elevation away from Green Bay. On the western side of the site, a one-acre open marsh dominated by bluejoint grass, reed grass, and rushes is found. Immediately to the east of the marsh is an open calcareous meadow on a lake dune with low juniper, gay-wings, and two rare plants. A wet-mesic conifer swamp dominated by white cedar and black and white spruce is located in the transition between the lower and upper beach zones. Impressive vertical cliffs of Niagara dolomite, vegetated with ferns and other cliff-dwelling plants, are found on the western side. A mixed upland forest dominated by white cedar, white birch, and sugar maple is found at the summit of the escarpment. The floor of the cedar-spruce forest lacks diversity but does contain such showy species as yellow lady's-slippers and Indian paint-brush. Bird life is characteristic of areas much farther north and includes winter wren, red-breasted nuthatch, Nashville, black-throated green, and Blackburnian warblers, ovenbird, and veery. Peninsula Park White Cedar Forest is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1952.


Driving directions

From Fish Creek, go north on State Highway 42 about 0.5 mile to the south entrance to Peninsula State Park. Follow Shore Road north into the park and obtain a park map at the office. Access to the natural area is from Shore Road via the Sunset Trail, or Middle Road via Hemlock Trail. A Wisconsin State Park sticker must be displayed on all vehicles entering the park.


Peninsula Park White Cedar Forest 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 northern wet-mesic forest reserve, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native northern wet-mesic and forests.

Management approach

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

Site-specific considerations

  • Although mowing in late summer and removal of hazardous trees from over and near trails are allowed activities, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • Mowing should be timed to avoid dispersal of invasive plant seeds, and mowing equipment should be cleaned if invasive plant seeds are present.
  • Maintenance and repair of the boardwalk may be required occasionally.


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