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Thomas Meyer
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Woodman Lake Sand Prairie And Dead Lake (No. 251)

Woodman Lake Sand Prairie And Dead Lake

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer



Within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Grant County. T7N-R4W, Sections 1, 11, 12. 286 acres.



Woodman Sand Prairie and Dead Lake features a dry sand prairie and sand barrens with several blowouts and dunes and Dead Lake, a shallow, seepage lake. The 17-acre lake has a maximum depth of only three feet and is considered to be deep marsh wetland with excellent habitat for muskrat, beaver, mink, and puddle ducks. In the sand prairie and barrens, dominant vegetation includes big blue-stem, few-flowered panic grass, Muhlenberg's bracted sedge, rough false pennyroyal, Virginia dwarf-dandelion, and wormwood. Lichens and mosses are abundant and include such species as British soldier and reindeer lichens (Cladonia). Also present are white wild indigo, American figwort, racemed milkwort, whorled milkweed, flowering spurge, and round-headed bush-clover. Several blowouts and smaller dunes are present with the larger blowouts being stabilized by false heather and dwarf spike moss. The northwest portion of the area is of special interest due to the proximity of the rich Dead Lake Marsh. The marsh edge is quite dramatic as it grades rapidly from a wetland dominated by steeplebush and sedges to a sand blow all within a few feet. The big sand tiger beetle is also found here. Woodman Sand Prairie and Dead Lake is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1991.


Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 133 and Main Street in Woodman, go northeast on Main Street 0.5 mile, then north on Woodman Lake Lane 0.5 mile to the site.


Woodman Lake Sand Prairie And Dead Lake 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 sand prairie and emergent marsh, as a wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the prairie and associated wetlands. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native prairies and emergent marshes.

Management approach

The ecological characteristics of the site will be primarily shaped by an intensive fire management program. The native species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Occasional fire-tolerant oaks and native shrubs may be retained at low densities. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, augmentation of native prairie species after careful review, maintenance of existing facilities, 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 and utility corridor easement areas may be managed sporadically by township and utility company.
  • Planted conifers are not native to this landscape and will be removed.


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