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Swan Lake Wildlife Area


Swan Lake Wildlife Area is a 2,466-acre property located one mile east of Portage off of Highway P in Columbia County. The property consists of approximately 2,000 acres of wetlands, 100 acres of grassland and 366 acres of wooded habitat.

The Fox River flows through the Swan Lake Wildlife Area in a northwesterly direction from Swan Lake on the east. The property was designated as a wildlife area in 1963.

Management Objectives

Historically, the primary management objective for Swan Lake Wildlife Area was to provide hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. As lands were acquired, marginal farm fields were converted to grassland to compliment the existing grassland community and provide additional wildlife habitat and hunting opportunities.

Current management objectives focus on protecting the watershed of the Fox River and managing for presettlement vegetation types. This includes maintaining existing prairies, oak barrens, savannas and sedge meadows and seeking opportunities to increase these cover types. The property is managed on a landscape scale to create smooth transitions between cover types.

The property is monitored for invasive species such as black locust and crown vetch. Prairie and savanna areas are managed and maintained through prescribed burning, mowing and herbicide use to limit brush encroachment and encourage vigorous grasslands. Wetlands are managed through limited disturbance to prevent the spread of reed canary grass. Oak woodlands are managed in a manner that limits the spread of oak wilt and encourages regeneration of oak and hickory. Aspen stands are managed to keep the stands in a young age class.

For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.


The Swan Lake Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Hiking (no designated trail);
  • Hunting (especially noted for waterfowl, deer, furbearers, rabbits, squirrels and turkey);
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

Map I Series: Swan Lake Wildlife Area [PDF]

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area

Find out more about how to adopt this wildlife area.