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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Swan Lake Tamaracks (No. 666)

Tamarack (rich) Swamp

Photo by Andy Clark



Within Swan Lake Wildlife Area, Columbia County. T20N-R15E, Sections 19, 30. 444 acres.



Situated on the north side of the Fox River, Swan Lake Tamaracks features a high quality southern tamarack swamp and southern sedge meadow. In southern Wisconsin, tamaracks have been on the decline due to many factors including hydrologic manipulation, invasive species, drought, and difficulty with reproduction. This site harbors a healthy stand of mature tamarack over a dense shrub layer of poison sumac, bog birch, and willows. The herbaceous layer is thick and typical of southern sedge meadows with species including tussock sedge and Canada bluejoint grass. Common associates are water-horehound, panicled aster, blue flag, Canada goldenrod, spotted joe-pye-weed, broad-leaved cat-tail, and swamp milkweed. Adjacent areas contain shrub-carr, an upland oak forest with a spring pond, and emergent marsh. Tamarack saplings are common on the gradient between the swamp and meadow. Swan Lake Tamaracks is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2012.


Driving directions

From the intersection of Highway 33 and County EE northwest of Portage, go east on Highway 33 for 1.8 miles to a parking area south of the road. Park and walk south into the site.


Swan Lake Tamaracks 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