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State Natural Areas Program

COVID-19 Update

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, please visit our COVID-19 information webpage for the most up to date information on property access, building closures, camping cancellations, event cancellations and more.

SNA Program logo State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin's native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites. Encompassing 402,000 acres on lands owned by the state and its many partners, including land trusts, local and county governments, and private citizens, Wisconsin's natural areas are valuable for research and educational use, the preservation of genetic and biological diversity and for providing benchmarks for determining the impact of use on managed lands. They also provide some of the last refuges for rare plants and animals.

Little Bear Hemlocks SNA

Little Bear Hemlocks is one of four isolated woodlots - remnants of the once vast forest that historically occupied this landscape. Photo by Thomas Meyer.

Small paddles, big rewards: paddling WI State Natural Areas

A number of State Natural Areas preserve wild lakes and stream stretches that you can explore by canoe or kayak. Take a look at these 12 easy, water-based trips to SNAs that offer a few hours of peaceful paddling in places that celebrate Wisconsin’s natural heritage.

Launch the paddle guide story map or download a printable version.

Blackjack Springs SNA

Paddling in Blackjack Springs State Natural Area.

A dozen great natural areas to enjoy big trees, old-growth forests and more...

paddle guide cover

Clickable SNA flyer

State Natural Areas protect the very best of Wisconsin's native landscapes, including colorful prairies, old-growth forests, wild lakes and sugar maple woods.

Checkout the SNA flyer [PDF] that features six groups of twelve SNAs to help you find great sites for paddling, hiking among spring wildflowers or big trees, viewing autumn colors and geological wonders, and discovering butterflies and grassland birds.

Just open the flyer and then click on an SNA name.
Get out and enjoy!

Exploring State Natural Areas

In this short video, learn about the SNA program that protects outstanding native landscapes throughout Wisconsin. Natural areas provide unique places for low-impact recreation, including hiking and fishing. Hunting is also allowed on most DNR-owned sites.

Last revised: Tuesday, March 24, 2020