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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Renak-Polak Maple-Beech Woods (No. 95)

Renak-Polak Maple-Beech Woods

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR



Racine County. T4N-R22E, Section 14. 107 acres.



Renak-Polak Maple Woods features an outstanding southern mesic forest and a smaller acreage of wet-mesic forest located along an intermittent stream. The forest is dominated by sugar maple, basswood, and beech although the largest trees are red oak, sugar maple, and white ash. While showing various stages of succession due to different land use histories, the forest is predominantly old-growth. Openings in the wet-mesic forest caused by elm mortality have allowed shrubs to dominate. The woods is noted for its spectacular display of spring wildflowers including wild leek, hepatica, spring-beauty, trout-lily, Dutchman's-breeches, bloodroot, toothwort, red and large-flowered trilliums, woodland phlox, and rue anemone. Topography is nearly level; elevations vary between 770 and 780 feet. Renak-Polak Maple Woods is owned by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and was designated a State Natural Area in 1972.


Driving directions

From Racine, go north on State Hwy. 38 6 miles, then east on Five Mile Road 0.25 mile, then north on River Road 0.25 mile. Walk east 1000 feet through buffer lands to the west border of the woods.


Renak-Polak Maple-Beech Woods is owned by:

  • UW Board of Regents


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: Friday, February 24, 2023