Goose Lake Wildlife Area
Goose Lake Wildlife Area is a 2,296-acre property consisting of approximately 570 acres of open grassland, 550 acres of mixed hardwoods upland forest, 430 acres of open marsh and floating sedge meadow, 700 acres of shrub carr and brushy uplands and 40 acres of tamarack bog.
The property is located in Dane County approximately 3.5 miles northeast of the village of Deerfield. From Madison, head east on I-94 for 10 miles and exit onto State Highway 73. Proceed south on Highway 73 for 2 miles to County Highway BB. Head east on Highway BB for 2 miles, and Goose Lake Wildlife Area is visible on the north side of the road.
The Wisconsin Conservation Department recognized the Goose Lake Area as productive wildlife habitat, especially for ducks, pheasants and deer and proposed this property as a state wildlife area in February 1962. The Dane County Conservation League donated the first tract of land for the wildlife area, 11 acres, in August 1962. Goose Lake Wildlife Area is a remnant of the original wetland-drumlin complex left by the receding Wisconsin glacier and is home to several drumlins and a relatively undisturbed bog and lake surrounded by floating sedge meadow.
Within Goose Lake Wildlife Area lies Goose Lake Drumlins State Natural Area. A remnant of the wetland-drumlin complex left by the receding Wisconsin glacier, the area is a forested complex with tamarack and mixed deciduous forest on adjacent drumlins. The natural area was designated in recognition of the unique geologic and floral features of the property. Numerous waterfowl use the area including sandhill crane, lesser scaup, blue-winged teal and wood duck. Other animals include otter, mink and muskrat. Rare plants include swamp agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora), tufted bulrush (Scirpus cespitosus) and two orchids. Goose Lake Drumlins is owned by the DNR and was designated a state natural area in 2002.
Today, prescribed burning and chemical and mechanical brush control are techniques used to maintain open grasslands. Occasional timber harvests are conducted to maintain and enhance the oak/hickory woodlands. Timber sales have taken place periodically on the uplands for wildlife habitat management and harvest of forest products.
The Glacial Heritage Area master plan was completed in 2011 and guides the long-term management of this property. Progress toward achieving the goals of the master plan are tracked through annual monitoring reports.
The Goose Lake Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:
- Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
- Hiking (no designated trail);
- Hunting (especially noted for deer, pheasant [2 p.m. closure rules apply], waterfowl, turkey and small game);
- Wild edibles/gathering; and
- Wildlife viewing.
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