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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Kirby Lake Hardwoods (No. 558)

Kirby Lake Hardwoods

Photo by Patrick Robinson



Within the Peshtigo River State Forest, Marinette County. T32N-R19E, Section 22. 111 acres.



Located above the Sandstone Flowage, Kirby Lake Hardwoods is situated along a one-mile stretch of the Peshtigo River, here free-flowing through a narrow valley. The site supports patches of cedar swamp and mesic northern hardwood forest on the river terraces. Scattered mature red and white pines are found on the step sloes of the river. Hilly uplands are comprised of red oak, red maple, aspen forest with some areas of red oak, basswood, and sugar maple forest. Of note are areas of spring seepage that support a high quality northern wet-mesic forest (white cedar swamp) that contains a good amount of white cedar reproduction. Other species present include white pine, paper birch, and black spruce. The dense groundlayer contains species such as three-leaved goldthread, naked miterwort, Canada mayflower, field horsetail, cinnamon fern, Canada bunchberry, yellow bluebead lily, and large-leaved aster. Two rare plants also occur here. Kirby Lake Hardwoods is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.


Driving directions

From the intersection of County Highway W and A in Crivitz, go west on County W about 6 miles, then north on Kirby Lake Road 0.8 miles to a DNR parking area. The site lies east of the road, and is accessible via cross country and hiking trails. The natural area is located on both sides of the river.


Kirby Lake Hardwoods 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.


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: Monday, June 10, 2019