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Southwest Wisconsin Grassland & Stream Conservation Area

Barneveld Prairie State Natural Area
Barneveld Prairie within the Southwest WI Grassland and Stream Conservation Area

Southwestern Wisconsin has been recognized for many years as one of the best grassland conservation opportunities in the Upper Midwest. The area stands out for its distinct combination of resources: exceptional populations of grassland birds, which are in serious decline across their range; many scattered remnants of the area's original prairie and savanna that once covered the region; concentrations of rare plants and animals, and spring-fed streams, all set within this expansive rural farming region of open fields, croplands, oak groves and pastures.

The view from this mound surpasses description! An ocean of prairie surrounds the gazer...interspersed with delightfully varying undulations...and every here and there, sinking in the hollows or cresting the swells, appear spots of wood, large groves...small groups of trees, as if planted by the hand of art

William Rudolph Smith, 1837, describing his view from the top of Belmont Mound, Lafayette County


Davis Unit

Davis Unit - Iowa County

Sherven and Gnewuch Unit

Sherven and Gnewuch Unit - Dane County

Interactive map

Public Access Lands interactive map

Allowable activities on state-owned lands
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Trapping
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Dogs must be leashed from April 15 - to July 31 to protect nesting birds
Documents & other resources
  • Southwest Wisconsin Grasslands Network
  • The Prairie Enthusiasts
  • Driftless Area Land Conservancy
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Groundswell Land Conservancy
  • U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
    • Natural Resources Conservation Service
    • Farm Services Agency
    • Farm and Ranchland Protection Program
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection
  • Green County Land Conservation Department
  • Iowa County Planning and Zoning Department
  • Dane County
  • Lafayette County Land Conservation Department
  • Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
  • Pheasants Forever
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Blue Mounds Area Project