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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Black River Savanna (No. 567)

Black River Savanna

Photo by Josh Mayer



Within North Bend Bottoms Wildlife Area, Jackson County. T19-R6W, Sections 27, 34, 35. 566 acres.



Black River Savanna supports a diverse sand prairie and barrens flora on the sandy, semi-open river terrace of the Black River. The flora is dominated by such representative plants as Junegrass, little bluestem, western sunflower, leadplant, lance-leaved loosestrife, bee balm, sky-blue aster, heath aster, goat's-rue, and American germander. Rare and uncommon species include prairie parsley and prairie larkspur. Scattered small to medium-sized black or Hill's oak are present along with a few bur oak and red cedar. Smooth sumac is common throughout the site. This moderately-sized sand barrens remnant has good recovery potential with management practices that will help reduce woody species encroachment and increase light availability to the native understory plants. Bird life is diverse and includes barred owl, willow flycatcher, alder flycatcher, sedge wren, veery, American redstart, ovenbird, mourning warbler, and clay-colored sparrow. Black River Savanna is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2008.


Driving directions

The site is best reached by canoe. From the Highway 107 boat launch just south of Melrose, canoe downstream nearly 6 miles to the eastern edge of the site.


Black River Savanna 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