White River Marsh Wildlife Area
White River Marsh Wildlife Area is a 12,000-acre property in the northwest corner of Green Lake County and the northeast corner of Marquette County. Find it approximately 6 miles north of the city of Princeton on County Highway D, or approximately 3 miles west of the city of Berlin on County Highway F. The property consists of open marsh/wet meadow, swamp hardwoods/tamarack swamp, upland prairie/oak savanna and shrub carr.
Please note: There is a No Entry Wildlife Refuge located on the southwest corner of the White River Marsh Wildlife Area for the training and releasing of whooping cranes. The No Entry Wildlife Refuge is closed to all public access from June 15 through Oct. 15.
The preliminary project and first land acquisition on the White River Marsh was approved by the Wisconsin Conservation Commission on March 30, 1962. Aldo Leopold had investigated the marsh in the 1940s and recommended federal or state purchase of the marsh for conservation purposes. Prairie chickens and bobwhite quail were abundant on the marsh.
Much of the uplands were farmed for row or small grain crops and most of the wetlands were drained or altered for farming. The marsh grass (sedge, bluejoint and prairie cordgrass) was used for cattle feed, bedding and for production of carpet fiber at factories in Oshkosh. The marshes were cut by horse-drawn equipment and shipped to Oshkosh via the lock and dam system on the Fox River.
Current management programs include wetland restoration and water level manipulation in the impoundments, upland dry prairie restoration to promote Karner blue butterflies and other grassland related wildlife, oak savannah restoration. Mourning dove habitat manipulation for banding and hunting opportunities on sunflower and other crop fields.
The White River Marsh Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:
- Auto travel (a Rustic Road bisects much of the wildlife area that provides an excellent wildlife viewing opportunity);
- Biking (town road only);
- Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
- Hiking (no designated trail);
- Hunting (especially noted for pheasant, with 12 p.m. closure rules applying);
- Snowmobiling trail;
- Wild edibles/gathering; and
- Wildlife viewing.
Note: There is a No Entry Wildlife Refuge located on the southwest corner of the White River Marsh Wildlife Area for the training and releasing of whooping cranes. The No Entry Wildlife Refuge is closed to all public access from June 15 through Oct. 15.
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