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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Goose Lake Drumlins (No. 375)

Bog Rosemary

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer



Within Goose Lake Wildlife Area, Dane County. T7N-R12E, Sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11. 760 acres.



Goose Lake Drumlins contains all or part of 6 drumlins located in the two units which comprise the natural area. A remnant of the wetland-drumlin complex left by the receding Wisconsin glacier, the area is a forested complex with tamarack and mixed deciduous forest on adjacent drumlins. Also present are two lakes, Mud Lake and Goose Lake. Southwest of the 133-acre Goose Lake is a relatively undisturbed bog that harbors pitcher plant and bog rosemary –two uncommon Dane County plants. The lake itself is surrounded by a semi-floating mat of mixed vegetation including wiregrass sedge, broad-leaf cat-tail, blue-joint grass, bur-reed, beaked sedge, and bristly sedge. The considerable rice cutgrass in the center of the lake is an indicator of shallow, silty conditions in the summer. In low areas, the mat is bordered by willows, red-osier dogwood, bog birch, poison sumac, sensitive fern, and also has an abundance of manna grass, marsh nettle, and tear-thumb. The 40-acre Mud Lake is a shallow, muck bottom lake with a tamarack swamp to the north. Banded killfish, green sunfish, largemouth bass, and northern redbelly dace are among the fish, which inhabit the lake. The drumlins themselves contain dry-mesic forest with red oak, red maple, and shagbark hickory. The upland woods have an excellent ground flora with large-flowered bellwort, bloodroot, blue cohosh, rue-anemone, Canada mayflower. Numerous waterfowl use the area including sandhill crane, lesser scaup, blue-winged teal, and wood duck. Other animals include otter, mink, and muskrat. Goose Lake Drumlins is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.


Driving directions

From the junction of Highway 73 and Liberty Road in Deerfield, go north on 73 2.2 miles, then east on County BB 1.3 miles, then north on Krueger Road to a gate and DNR parking area. Walk northeast or northwest into two separate natural area units.


Goose Lake Drumlins 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 reserve for tamarack (rich) fen, bog relict, and southern sedge meadow, as a wetland protection site, as a significant geological site, and as an old southern dry-mesic forest and oak woodland restoration area. The wetland natural communities and geological features are the primary purpose for protection and management. Another objective is to provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality glacial drumlins and old southern dry-mesic forest and oak woodland restorations.

Management approach

The native wetland species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event in wetland areas is not considered compatible with management objectives. In the southern dry-mesic forest and oak woodland restoration areas, the native dominant forest and woodland tree species (primarily oaks) are managed to both regenerate the cover type, but also to leave some of the trees or groups of trees to develop old forest and woodland characteristics. Harvest of canopy trees occurs in places to regenerate the oak cover-type, which would otherwise change to maple over time. Some individual trees and patches of trees, however, are left to develop into a very old component of the forest. In the oak woodland restoration area, white oaks are preferentially left during harvest. The site is then managed with fire to develop into oak woodland. Other allowable activities in the restoration areas include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event in the restoration areas can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • Utility easement area may be managed sporadically by the power company.
  • During timber management activities, the soil profiles and topographic characteristics of the drumlins need to be maintained.


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