Skip to main content

Albany Sand Prairie & Oak Savanna

No. 680

Albany Sand Prairie
Photo by Rich Staffen


Albany Sand Prairie and Oak Savanna consist of an unplowed, good-quality sand prairie that grades into oak barrens and brushy oak openings. A mature, closed-canopy oak woodland is present nearer the Sugar River. The Sugar River State Recreational Trail forms the southwestern border of the site with a small, but diverse remnant dry-mesic prairie paralleling the trail. Patches of scrub black oak are scattered throughout the sand prairie along with areas of aspen and smooth sumac.

The ground layer includes little bluestem, needle grass, round-headed bush-clover, stiff goldenrod, wild bergamot, prairie blazing star, butterfly milkweed, Venus' looking glass, flowering spurge, showy goldenrod, and sky-blue aster. The dry-mesic prairie along the recreational trail supports more conservative species such as purple prairie clover, prairie cinquefoil, Illinois tick-trefoil, and kitten-tails, a plant whose range is restricted to the Midwest (e.g. Midwest endemic).

The oak woodland is a small, but good-quality stand comprised of white oak with black walnut, hackberry, American elm, and basswood. Areas of dense shrubs are common. Bird life is varied and includes numerous Species of Greatest Conservation needs. Albany Sand Prairie and Oak Savanna are owned by the DNR and were designated a State Natural Area in 2016.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and a detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Entrance fees: Except for Parfrey's Glen, the Cambrian Outlook in the Dells of the Wisconsin River, SNAs within State Parks and some within State Forests, all other DNR-owned SNAs do not have any admission fees.

Allowable activities: DNR-owned land

In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted below and posted with signs on the property site.

Prohibited activities: all SNAs

  • Camping and campfires
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead.
  • Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use.

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR].


Within Albany Wildlife Area, Green County. T3N-R9E, Section 16. 92 acres.

Driving directions

From the intersection of Highway 59 and County E just north of Albany, go north on E for 0.75 miles, then west on an access road 0.25 miles to a DNR parking area. Alternatively, the natural area is also accessible via the Sugar River State Trail approximately 1.4 miles north of the town center.

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities.

Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details. The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries. To create your custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's Mapping Application.

Property Map [PDF]

Albany Sand Prairie & Oak Savanna is owned by: Wisconsin DNR