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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program White River Prairie/Tamaracks (No. 368)

White River Prairie/Tamaracks

Photo by Janeen Laatsch



Within White River Marsh Wildlife Area, Green Lake County. T17N-R11E, Sections 2, 11, 12, 13. 780 acres.



White River Prairie/Tamaracks contains one of the largest tamarack bogs and one of the largest and least disturbed wet prairie remaining in Wisconsin. The tamarack bog contains a dense canopy of tamarack with an understory dominated by sphagnum moss with a sparse willow and dogwood component. Also present are paper birch and a small area of black spruce along the eastern edge of the site. Ground cover consists of many northern plant species such as yellow bluebead lily and three-leaved gold-thread. Also present are marsh marigold, lake sedge, tussock sedge, bunchberry, bulbet water hemlock, marsh fern, and round-leaved goldenrod. The low, wet prairie contains an excellent flora with some fen aspects and is dominated by a great diversity of native species, none of which occupy more than 10% of any area. Some plants more typical of fens include sweet grass, shrubby cinquefoil, and boneset. Grasses present are big blue-stem, blue-joint grass, and prairie cord grass. Showy forbs include prairie blazing-star, Michigan lily, narrow-leaved loosestrife, wild bergamot, swamp milkweed, swamp saxifrage, spiderwort, culver's-root, golden alexanders, northern bedstraw, and hoary vervain. Scattered around are small upland black oak "islands" and small ponds, which add diversity to the site. The prairie harbors a substantial population of a state-threatened bird. Other birds include sedge wren, northern waterthrush, Nashville and black-throated green warblers, and veery. White River Prairie/Tamaracks is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.


Driving directions

The area is best seen by canoe. A boat launch on Highway 73 in Neshkoro provides access to the river.


White River Prairie/Tamaracks 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 mesic/wet-mesic prairie and tamarack (rich) swamp, as an aquatic preserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the prairie, tamarack swamp and other associated wetland communities. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native prairies and tamarack swamps.

Management approach

The native wetland species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and 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.


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