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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Woods Creek (No. 457)

Woods Creek

Photo by Josh Mayer



Within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Florence County. T39N-R15E, Sections 25, 26, 27, 34, 35. 420 acres.



Woods Creek features northern mesic, wet-mesic, and wet forest within a wetland mosaic of numerous ephemeral ponds and small bogs and swamps in a hummocky landscape. A tributary of Woods Creek breaches a well-developed moraine ridge. One-quarter mile of the ridge lies within the site boundary. Along the southern edge of the moraine ridge there appears to be terracing. The origin of the terracing and breach is not found in any literature, but it appears that the terracing arose from lake waters that were dammed by the morainal ridge to the south. The tributary appears to be the remnant of the waters that once breached the moraine. The northern dry-mesic forest features super-canopy white pine, large hemlock, and a surprising amount of upland northern white cedar. Relict white pine are commonly 30 inches or more in diameter and estimated at 200 years old, predating the earliest logging episodes. The hemlock grades into the swamps below and into northern mesic forest where it increases in abundance. Large sugar maples are also present. Stumps of white pine and other species were common, some apparently harvested within the past few decades. However, the canopy is still intact. Snags, den trees, and coarse woody debris are present although not common. The understory includes bunchberry, black cherry, early low blueberry, beaked hazelnut, yellow bluebead lily, American starflower, and wild sarsaparilla. Along the moraine and in the western portions, the forest has been more recently and frequently cut resulting in a stand with more pole-sized sugar maple. Hemlock with yellow birch, white cedar, and occasional super-canopy white pine dominate the northern mesic forest. In areas with a 70% closed canopy, the understory was thick with red raspberry, sugar maple seedlings, lycopods, and beaked hazelnut. Black spruce, white cedar, tamarack, and sphagnum moss dominate the northern wet forest. Understory species include leather-leaf, labrador tea, and sedges. Documented breeding birds include winter wren, magnolia warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, black and white warbler, ovenbird, rose-breasted grosbeak, red-eyed vireo, and white-throated sparrow. Woods Creek is owned by the US Forest Service and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.


Driving directions

From the intersection of Highway 139 and FR 2156 (Halsey Lake Road) in Long Lake, go east on FR 2156 approximately 5.3 miles. Walk south into the site.


Woods Creek is owned by:

  • US Forest Service


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.


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.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Non-DNR lands

Entrance fees: For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the "Resources" heading above. More details regarding allowable uses of this non-DNR owned SNA may be posted, if available, under the "Access" tab above.

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Other activities

Other allowable activities such as - but not limited to camping, geocaching and bicycling are determined by the landowner. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for details.

Last revised: Wednesday, October 13, 2021