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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program North Bend Wet Prairie (No. 565)

North Bend Wet Prairie

Photo by Josh Mayer



Within North Bend Bottoms Wildlife Area, Jackson County. T19N-R6W, Section 32, 33. 34 acres.



Located within the Black River floodplain, North Bend Wet Prairie features pockets of wet prairie a rare natural community type within the region and throughout the state. Ditching, grazing, and fire suppression have altered or destroyed most of the wet prairie that remains in Wisconsin. Restoration and management are usually needed to enhance the structure and species composition of these sites. This site offers a good opportunity for restoration to preserve the prairie for future education and research purposes. Grasses include prairie cordgrass, big bluestem, switchgrass, and little bluestem. Characteristic herbs are white wild indigo, flowering spurge, spotted joe-pye weed, false dragonhead, calico aster, evening primrose, and Missouri goldenrod. Numerous birds are found in the prairie and surrounding area. Species observed include Sandhill crane, barred owl, yellow-bellied sapsucker, alder flycatcher, eastern kingbird, tufted titmouse, blue-gray gnatcatcher, warbling vireo, blue-winged warbler, American redstart, rose-breasted grosbeak, and indigo bunting. North Bend Wet Prairie is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2008.


Driving directions

From the intersection of Highway 54 and County VV in North Bend, go south on County VV 1.9 miles and park. Walk north along the edge of an old field 0.15 miles, then go northeast another 0.15 miles into the site.


North Bend Wet Prairie 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 wet prairie reserve, a wetland protection area, and an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed fire will determine the structure of the prairie. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native prairies.

Management approach

The ecological characteristics of the site will be primarily shaped by an intensive fire management program. The native prairie species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Occasional fire-tolerant oaks, hickories, and native shrubs such as Spiraea may be retained at low densities. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, augmentation of native prairie species after careful review, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires.


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: Friday, July 06, 2018