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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Flambeau Wetlands (No. 587)



Within the Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, Iron County. T41N-R2E, Section 4. 60 acres.



Situated on the north bank of the Flambeau River, Flambeau Wetlands features an old-growth stand of white and red pine with an understory of spruce and balsam fir. The diversity of old, large trees, snags, and down course wood debris accentuates the site's old-growth character. Also found here is a small area of old-growth boreal forest of white spruce and balsam fir. Bordering the uplands is a large tract of northern wet forest dominated by white cedar and tamarack. A spring-fed stream and several small ephemeral ponds add to the site's diversity. The undisturbed nature of the forests and the diversity of plant communities present in this relatively small area is unusual. Flambeau Wetlands is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2008.


Driving directions

From Butternut, go east on County F about 13.5 miles, then southeast on Turtle Flambeau Dam Road 2.3 miles, then south 0.5 miles to the boat landing. Walk west along the Flambeau River 1.2 miles to the site.


Flambeau Wetlands 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 reserve for northern wet to wet-mesic forest, emergent aquatics and ephemeral ponds, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the wetland forest, emergent aquatic communities and ephemeral ponds. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native northern wetland forests and ephemeral ponds.

Management approach

The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, harvest of wild rice, and access to suppress fires. The uplands surrounding the wetlands are managed for old forest attributes, in adherence with Best Management Practices for Water Quality (BMPs). Salvage of trees after a major wind event is considered compatible with management objectives only if BMPs are followed.


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