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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Lawrence Creek (No. 70)



Within the Lawrence Creek Wildlife Area, Adams and Marquette County. T16N-R7E, Section 1. T17N-R7E, Section 36. T17N-R8E, Sections 31, 32. 288 acres.



Lawrence Creek is a cold, hard water trout stream with an excellent stream flora and fauna. Originating in ground moraine about one and a half miles upstream, the creek is internationally famous for research on brook trout ecology, life history, and management. The designated portion constitutes the main spawning area for a large reproducing population of brook trout, and has not been subjected to in-stream or bank manipulation, making it a valuable reference area for manipulated stream stretches. In-stream seepage springs and short spring runs contribute much to the water flow and composition. Stream vegetation is dominated by comb pondweed and waterweed with water parsnip, marsh marigold, common duckweed, water speedwell, and white water crowfoot. Oaks, basswood, alder, willows, and reed canary grass cover the banks. Lawrence Creek is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1968.


Driving directions

From the intersection of County Highways A and E in Lawrence, go north on A 0.8 mile, then west on Eagle Avenue 2.5 miles to a parking area north of the road. A trail leads north to the creek.


Lawrence Creek 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 a reserve for oak woodland/barrens, calcareous fen and springs, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection area, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed canopy and understory manipulation (see below) will determine the structure of the woodland and barrens. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native oak woodlands and calcareous fens.

Management approach

The oak woodland/barrens area is currently not functioning as an ecological reference area and needs to be restored to that function. The native dominant tree species (primarily oaks) are managed following the Oak Savanna Management guide. Retention of snags and den trees will also be used. Canopy tree harvest/thinning, understory and overstory manipulation and shrub control via harvest, brushing or fire may be needed to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Augmentation of the ground layer will only add species that historically would have been found on the site, using seeds or plugs from local genetic material; this usually occurs in the early stages of restoration. The native fen species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Native wetland conifers and black ash may be retained at low densities. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township.
  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.


Management objectives and prescriptions


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