Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area
Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area is a 2,600-acre property located in eastern Washington County, northeast of the Village of Jackson. The property is comprised mostly of forested wetland (60%). The nearly 600-acre Jackson Marsh State Natural Area forms the core of the property and includes remnant white cedar swamp and southern swamp hardwood communities. Uplands are primarily planted prairie grasses and hardwood forest.
Jackson Marsh was approved as a state Wildlife Area in 1952 because of its value for wildlife and potential for hunting opportunities. Land acquisition proceeded slowly, but, now, more than 2,600 acres are under state ownership. Most upland fields that historically were farmed have been planted to trees and tallgrass prairie.
Habitat and Wildlife Management
Forested wetland plant communities are primarily passively managed. Jackson Marsh State Natural Area is managed as an ecological reference area. Invasive species are monitored and controlled. Peripheral hardwood stands outside the natural area are selectively harvested to create small canopy gaps and allow sunlight to reach the forest floor and improve regeneration of desirable tree species, especially oak.
Many lowland grass fields are dominated by reed canarygrass and are challenging to access for management. During dry years, these fields are harvested for hay. Many of these fields are planned to be converted to forest as access allows.
Upland grasslands are dominated by tallgrass prairie communities. Grasslands are managed using periodic fire, mowing, and haying to provide nesting cover for mallard, blue-winged teal, and wild turkey and cover and forage for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and ring-necked pheasants. Pheasants are stocked in upland grasslands throughout the pheasant hunting season.
Farmed fields of corn, hay, soybeans, winter wheat, and other crops provide forage and cover for a variety of wildlife species. Additionally, farming is used to prepare sites for conversion to prairie or forest.
The Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:
- Cross-country skiing (no designated trail)
- Dog training (class II)
- Hiking (no designated trail)
- Archery and firearm hunting and trapping are allowed on the wildlife area.
- Pheasant hunting is prohibited after 12 p.m. beginning the third day of the season through November 3.
- Portable stands and artificial blinds may be used but must be completely removed from the property at the close of hunting hours each day.
- Refuges "Closed Area" boundaries are posted by yellow signs. No hunting or trapping is permitted in these areas. Walk-through is permitted on state land within a closed area provided all bows are unstrung or cased and all firearms are unloaded and cased. Do not enter private land without permission (including retrieving game).
- Snowmobiles (only permitted on the designated snowmobile trail near Highway G)
- Wild edibles/gathering
- Wildlife viewing.
- No target shooting
- No blocking access to gates with vehicles
- No stocking or releasing any wild or domestic animals
- No biking
- No horses
- No ATV/UTV riding or operation of other motor vehicles
- No overnight camping, parking or open burning
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