Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Photo of natural area © Thomas Meyer

Freezing fog creates a thick coating of hoarfrost at Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area in Dane County
© Thomas Meyer

December 2010

Wisconsin, naturally

Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area

Notable: Located in the rugged Driftless Area, this diverse natural area sits on a long, narrow ridge sloping down to wetlands along Pleasant Valley Creek. A complex of several natural community types, including oak woodland, oak savanna, dry and wet prairie, sedge meadow, open marsh, and flowing springs, provides habitat for many species, including several rarities. Prairie turnip, upland boneset, purple milkweed and giant yellow hyssop are among the uncommon plants found here. Commonly sighted birds include red-headed woodpecker, eastern bluebird and scarlet tanager. The 143-acre preserve is privately owned by Tom and Kathie Brock, and in part by The Prairie Enthusiasts, but is open to the public for hiking and nature study.

How to get there: From the junction of Highways 78 and KP in Black Earth (Dane Co.), go west on KP 1.1 miles, then south on Highway F 3.7 miles, then east on Pleasant Valley Road 0.75 miles to the preserve entrance. Park along the road. Visit Pleasant Valley Conservancy or the owners' website for maps and more information.