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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Berlin Fen (No. 207)

Berlin Fen

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer



Green Lake County. T17N-R13E, Section 12. 21 acres.



Berlin Fen contains two mound fens, the smaller on the south side near the abandoned railroad trail and the larger covering nearly the entire northern portion of the site. The mounds are dome-shaped piles of wet calcareous peat and have unique combinations of plants. The larger mound is dominated by shrubby cinquefoil and chairmaker's rush while the smaller mound is dominated by prairie grasses. Throughout the main mounds are areas of marl rivulets and pools, which harbor a very unusual flora including grass-of-parnassus, bladderwort, and large populations of pitcher plant. Preliminary studies suggest that sedge wren, common yellowthroat, and savanna and clay-colored sprarrows breed here. Berlin Fen is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1986.


Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highways 49 and 91 in Berlin, go east on 91 2 miles, then south on Willard Road 0.25 mile to the northwest corner of the tract. The site lies east of Willard Road and north of the Green Lake County Trail.


Berlin Fen 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 calcareous fen preserve and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the fen and associated wetlands. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native calcareous fens.

Management approach

The wetland species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Occasionally native wetland conifers and black ash may be retained at low densities. A fire management program will be the primary driver of the ecological characteristics at the site. 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.
  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township.


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