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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program St. Croix Islands (No. 622)

St. Croix Islands

Photo by Josh Mayer



Within St. Croix Islands Wildlife Area, St. Croix County. T31N-R19W, Sections 17, 20, 29. 525 acres.



St. Croix Islands features a diverse and extensive mosaic of running sloughs, backwater lakes, braided stream channels, stands of emergent aquatic vegetation, old-growth lowland forest, and the delta of the Apple River. Abundant flowing springs on the north and east banks provide exceptional habitat for mussels and darters in the east channels. The stands of emergents are extensive, and, depending on water depth, dominated by arrowhead, river bulrush, softstem bulrush, reed grass, and huge patches of cordgrass. The lowland forest is dominated by silver maple with a few individuals reaching 35 inches in diameter. Canopy associates include green ash, hackberry, black willow, and elm. The understory is variable but is often undeveloped after annual flooding and scouring. Sedges, catchfly grass, smartweed, and sensitive fern are commonly seen. Also present is wet prairie containing cardinal flower, swamp milkweed, Joe-pye weed, jewelweed, water horehound, culver's root, obedience plant, monkey-flower, and great blue lobelia. The extensive nature of this site and diversity of habitats allows for an abundance of wildlife to flourish. Fishes include crystal darter, gilt darter, greater redhorse, common shiner, pumpkinseed, speckled chub, river redhorse, and bass. Birds include great blue heron, bald eagle, marsh wren, and belted kingfisher. St. Croix Islands is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2010.


Driving directions

Access is by boat or canoe.


St. Croix Islands 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