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a Wisconsin state park, forest, recreation area or trail.
Camping opportunities
in state parks and forests.
How to buy
a vehicle admission sticker or state trail pass.
Get Outdoors!
to attend a nature program or event with family and friends.

Yellowstone Lake State Park Nature

The park is host to many different species of wildlife. These include the commonly seen whitetail deer, wild turkey, groundhog, fox and grey squirrel and cottontail rabbit. There have been over 170 species of birds observed in and around the park. Bald eagles, osprey, common loon and the double crested cormorant visit the lake in the spring and fall during migration. Waterfowl of all kinds, including wood ducks, mallards and Canadian geese, use the lake as a rest stop during their migration. Sandhill cranes have been observed in the park and have raised their young here and the great blue heron is a common resident seen wading in the shallows hunting for fish or frogs.

Little brown bats

Yellowstone Lake is the summer home to more than 4,000 little brown bats. The bats roost in 31 bat houses throughout the park. The houses serve as nurseries, where the bats raise their pups.

The project is the work of Kent Borcherding, a park volunteer from Hazel Green, who has maintained the houses and been working with the bats since 1995. Borcherding also gives interpretative presentations on the bats.

Each evening campers gather around the bat houses to watch the bats flit about the sky on their hunting expeditions. Since each bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes an hour, they have nearly eliminated the mosquito population. This benefit is greatly appreciated by campers!

The bats have quickly become a highlight to the park's interpretive program. In 2000 Merlin Tuttle, founder of Bat Conservation International (BCI) in Austin, Texas, brought a film crew to Yellowstone Lake to film the little brown bat. The BCI used the documentary for promotion and to inform the public that bats aren't the hazard most people believe they are.

Nature programs

Nature programs run throughout the summer months. Evening programs have many different topics, from bat houses and stars in the night sky, to prairie ecosystems and more. The park may have hikes of varying topics, subject to personnel availability.

Special programs for schools and large groups can be scheduled by contacting the park office several weeks prior to your arrival. Be sure to check at the park office or bulletin boards for the weekly naturalist schedule.

Last revised: Tuesday May 01 2012