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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Lily Lake (No. 555)

Lily Lake

Photo by Craig J. Anderson



Lincoln County. T35N-R7E, Section 17. 80 acres.



Lily Lake is a 42-acre seepage lake surrounded by open bog and uplands of jack pine, paper birch, and aspen. The bog mat is similar in characteristics to those typically found in central Wisconsin. Dominant plants include sphagnum, few-seeded sedge, woolly-fruit sedge, cord-root sedge, bog birch, and leatherleaf. Among other plants present are water lobelia, slender yellow-eyed grass, horned bladderwort, narrow-leaved sundew, round-leaved sundew, and pitcher plant. Tamarack, alder, and other ericaceous species are also present. The lake has slightly acid, clear water of moderate transparency and a maximum depth of six feet. Several floating bog islands are present in the lake. Puddle ducks nest here and the lake is used by migratory birds including the common loon. Lily Lake is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.


Driving directions

From the intersection of US Highway 8 and County A 1.5 miles north of Tomahawk, go east on County A 4.25 miles, then north on Spring Creek Drive 1.4 miles, then continue east on Spring Creek Drive nearly 0.6 miles to a small road running northwest into the site.


Lily Lake 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 an aquatic preserve, a wetland protection area, a northern dry forest restoration site, and an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the lake, along with prescribed vegetation manipulation in associated wetlands.

Management approach

The native aquatic and wetland species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the lake. The young jack pine-oak forest on the uplands will be allowed to age to biological maturity before another harvest regenerates the jack pine and oak. Other allowable activities throughout the site include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • An access trail through the dense saplings will be developed.


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
  • Drone use, unless authorized by a SNA research permit
  • 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, December 15, 2017