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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program East Bluff (No. 98)

East Bluff

Photo by Josh Mayer


Overview

Location

Within Devil's Lake State Park, Sauk County. T11N-R7E, Section 19. T11N-R6E, Section 24. 254 acres.

Description

Description

East Bluff is a continuum of natural communities of great ecological interest grading from open talus slopes, to dry prairie and glade, to open oak woodland, and finally a closed canopy southern hardwood forest. A moist, shaded grotto is also present downslope. Deposited by glacial action, the extensive 400 foot high talus slope is composed of angular blocks of quartzite below the vertical cliffs. Perched atop the quartzite talus is a curious open woodland - a pygmy forest of stunted shagbark hickory and white ash. And along the bluff edge are among the best examples of dry prairie and bedrock glade within Wisconsin. Trees average only 4 to 6 feet in diameter and 20-30 feet in height. The groundlayer is dominated by Pennsylvania sedge with other grasses including poverty oat grass, little blue-stem, and big blue-stem. Other herbaceous plants are columbine, shooting-star, prairie coreopsis, prairie alumroot, field pussy-toes, and large-flowered yellow false foxglove. In some areas, quartzite is exposed at the surface and contains a distinctive lichen and moss flora. The southern dry forest is dominated by white and red oaks with black cherry, shagbark hickory, big-tooth aspen, red maple, and white pine. The groundlayer contains species such as black-seeded rice grass, arrow-leaved aster, marginal wood fern, shining bedstraw, round-lobed hepatica, hairy sweet cicely, and false Solomon's-seal. The Alaskan Grotto is a unique linear geological feature along the south base of East Bluff, which supports a particularly diverse assemblage of plant species characteristic of northern Wisconsin forests. East Bluff harbors several rare plants. East Bluff is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1993.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of US Highway 12 and State Highway 136 in West Baraboo, go east (south) on 12 3.8 miles, then east on Ski Hi Road 1.2 miles, then south (right) on South Shore Road to the South Shore main gate and parking/campground area. The Grottos, East Bluff, and East Bluff Woods Trails provide access to the site.

Ownership

East Bluff is owned by:

  • WDNR

Maps

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.

Recreation

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: Tuesday, December 04, 2018