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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Solon Springs Sharptail Barrens (No. 65)

Solon Springs Sharptail Barrens

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR



Within Solon Springs Wildlife Area, Douglas County. T44N-R12W, Section 11. 227 acres.



Situated on the rolling glacial outwash sand plain that extends from Burnett to Bayfield counties, Solon Springs Sharptail Barrens features a large pine barrens with widely scattered clumps of jack pine, Hill's oaks, bur oak grubs, and occasional red pine. The vegetation is characteristic of the presettlement vegetation that once covered much of northwestern Wisconsin. Maintained by fire, the barrens are one of the best sharp-tailed grouse habitats in Wisconsin. Shrubs present are sweet fern, blueberry, dewberry, New Jersey tea, hazelnut, willow, wild rose, chokecherry, and bearberry. Groundlayer species include big and little blue-stem, prairie alumroot, puccoon, Canada mayflower, wormwood, asters, and goldenrods. Bird life is dominated by species, which require extensive open landscapes. Other birds include mourning dove, eastern towhee, Brewer's blackbird, and field sparrow. Solon Springs Sharptail Barrens is owned by Douglas County and was designated a State Natural Area in 1968.


Driving directions

From the intersection of U.S. Highway 53 and County Highway A in Solon Springs, go south on 53 3.5 miles, then west on Bird Sanctuary Road (Cut Away Road) 0.5 mile to the southeast corner of the site.


Solon Springs Sharptail Barrens is owned by:

  • Douglas County


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.

To create your own custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's mapping application.


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.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Non-DNR lands

Entrance fees: For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the "Resources" heading above. More details regarding allowable uses of this non-DNR owned SNA may be posted, if available, under the "Access" tab above.

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Other activities

Other allowable activities such as - but not limited to camping, geocaching and bicycling are determined by the landowner. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for details.

Last revised: Monday, March 27, 2023