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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Bear Creek Sedge Meadow (No. 369)

Glade mallow

Photo by K. Kohout



Within Bear Creek Fishery Area, Richland & Sauk County. T9N-R2E, Section 1. T10N-R3E, Sections 19, 20. 80 acres.



Bear Creek Sedge Meadow contains two separate parcels--both sedge meadow communities with Bear Creek flowing through them. Also present is some shallow marsh along the creek. Both are recovering well from past grazing. Sedges are dominant and forbs are present in higher than normal densities. Cat-tail and bulrush are found in the wettest areas while the highest ground supports wet prairie vegetation. A midwestern endemic plant is present along the creek. Other plants include blue-joint grass, sweet Indian-plantain, swamp aster, marsh marigold, swamp thistle, boneset, bottle gentian, mountain mint, and cup-plant. Breeding birds include wood duck, sandhill crane, belted kingfisher, alder flycatcher, willow flycatcher, sedge and marsh wren, common yellowthroat, and swamp sparrow. Clean water flows through the meadows suggesting the possibility of groundwater seepage. Bear Creek Sedge Meadow is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.


Driving directions

From Lone Rock, go north on 130 6 miles, then east on Brown Church Road 1.2 miles. The first parcel lies just west of the road. To reach the second area, from the junction of 130 and Brown Church Road, continue north on 130 4.6 miles to the intersection with Highway N-east and park along N. The site lies southeast of the road.


Bear Creek Sedge Meadow 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 southern sedge meadow reserve, as a wetland protection area, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed vegetation manipulation will determine the structure of the sedge meadow and associated wetlands. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality sedge meadows.

Management approach

The wetland species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • Roadside easement areas may be managed sporadically by township and county.


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