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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Frog Lake And Pines (No. 187)

Frog Lake And Pines

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer



Within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Iron County. T42N-R4E, Sections 8, 9, 16, 17. 1,290 acres.



Frog Lake and Pines features an undisturbed wilderness lake surrounded by old-growth northern dry-mesic forest in a large lowland bordering the Manitowish River. The 42-acre lake is a deep, soft seepage lake with a dense community of submergent aquatic vegetation including white and yellow pond-lilies, bladworts and spike rushes. Wetlands predominate along the shoreline with bog, sedge meadow, and lowland conifer-hardwood swamp. The bog has an abundance of leather-leaf and Laborador-tea with numerous scattered small trees, sedges, and other ericaceous species. The low conifer-hardwood swamp contains species such as white and black spruce, tamarack, thimbleberry, and three-leaved gold-thread. The remaining shoreline is upland forest consisting primarily of red and white pines some that are more than 2 feet in diameter with other trees including white birch, aspen, red maple, and balsam fir. The understory varies in shrub density from a thicket of hazelnut to a fairly open understory with bracken fern, bunchberry, wild sarsaparilla, American starflower, rough-leaved rice grass, and Canada mayflower. Migrating waterfowl make extensive use of the lake. Frog Lake and Pines is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1983.


Driving directions

From Manitowish, go south on Highway 182/47 0.6 mile to a parking area on the west side of the road. Walk west along an access lane into the area. Taking the south fork leads to the lake and the largest pines.


Frog Lake And Pines 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 preserve for northern dry-mesic forest and northern sedge meadow, as an aquatic preserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Note: It is understood that over the course of time, the oak/red pine component will decrease under a passive management regime. Other State Natural Areas, however, are managed to maintain an old-growth oak cover type. Both management scenarios are needed as ecological reference areas.

Management approach

The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. The dry-mesic forest will be allowed to convert over time to a more mesic forest condition. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible. Berms will be maintained on the trail to prevent vehicle access.
  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by state.
  • A snowmobile trail parallels Hwy 47, and is occasionally managed to keep the trail open from windfalls.


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, July 06, 2018