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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Devine Lake & Mishonagon Creek (No. 507)

Devine Lake & Mishonagon Creek

Photo by Randy Hoffman



Within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Vilas County. T40N-R6E, Sections 3, 4, 9, 10, 15, 16. T41N-R6E, Sections 33, 34. 1,186 acres.



Devine Lake and Mishonagon Creek contains an extensive wetland complex including a large sedge meadow, mixed conifer swamp, shrub-carr, and northern wet forest bordering Devine Lake. Of note, is the exceptional floristic diversity within this complex. The meadow is dominated by blue-joint grass, sedges, and rushes with marsh fern, marsh bellflower, turtlehead, marsh marigold, flat-top aster, and northern bog goldenrod. The tamarack-dominated wet forest occupies the wetland within the Devine Lake basin between the open sedge meadow and a tall shrub community at the upland edge. Understory dominants are sphagnum mosses, and few-seeded sedge. Other characteristic species include large cranberry, round-leaved sundew, northern blue-flag iris, marsh skullcap, rose pogonia, white bog orchid, three-leaved goldthread, and crested shield fern. Shrubs include marsh cinquefoil, leather-leaf, mountain maple, velvet-leaf blueberry, mountain holly, and willows. The 95-acre Devine Lake is a spring-fed, drained lake which occupies a depression in extensive sandy, pitted glacial outwash. Several large springs and seepages feed the lake and surrounding wetlands from the north. The lake harbors numerous aquatic macrophytes including wild rice, which occupies 30-40% of the lake basin in some years. Many rare animals and plants are found here, some of them represented by large populations. Devine Lake and Mishonagon Creek is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.


Driving directions

From Woodruff, go north on Highway 51 about 4 miles, then west on N. Farming Road 1.2 miles miles, then north on Rux Road 1.6 miles, then go northwest on an unnamed road 0.15 miles and veer north at the Y 0.5 miles to the west edge of the site. Walk west through the conifer swamp and to Devine Lake.


Devine Lake & Mishonagon Creek 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.

To create your own custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's mapping application.


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.

Entrance fees: Excepting Parfrey's Glen, the Cambrian Outlook in the Dells of the Wisconsin River, SNAs within State Parks and some within State Forests, all other DNR-owned SNAs do not have any admission fee. For more information, see Wis. Admin. Code NR 45. For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

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

Although a handful of sites allow activities like primitive camping (e.g. Lower Chippewa River on sand bars) or horseback riding (e.g. S. Kettle Moraine), the activities listed below are generally prohibited on DNR-owned SNAs.

  • 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
  • Drones: Flying-related activities, including the use of drones, hang-gliders and model airplanes, are prohibited. Permission may be issued by the SNA Program for the use of drones for educational or research purposes.
  • 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: Monday, March 27, 2023