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Audubon Goose Pond

No. 86


Photo by Aaron Carlson


Goose Pond is a small, isolated, prairie pothole located within a marshy basin in the ground moraine. The area was designated a bird species preserve because of the number of bird species that have been sighted on the property (243 species). Waterfowl and shorebirds are the main interests. Twenty-eight species of waterfowl have been observed and about 23 species visit each spring. Eight species of ducks nest in the pond. During migration, tundra swans number in the hundreds some years as they stop to feed on plant tubers.

Water levels fluctuate due to runoff conditions, and in years of very high or very low water, shorebirds congregate on exposed mudflats. Thirty-four species of shorebirds have been observed at the pond. In late summer, great blue, green-backed, and black-crowned night herons, along with common egrets, are regular visitors. Arrowhead and river bulrush are the dominant wetland plants. The water is generally turbid and hard with exceptionally high conductance. Goose Pond is owned by the Madison Audubon and was designated a State Natural Area in 1970.

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 located under the Map tab. 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.

Non-DNR lands

Entrance fees: For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Hunting and trapping

This SNA has multiple landowners: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the landowner. In general, most DNR-owned land allows hunting and trapping. Partner-owned land may have other rules (for example, university-owned lands do not allow hunting or trapping). Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the Resources tab. 

Other activities

Other allowable activities such as - but not limited to camping, geocaching and bicycling are determined by the landowner. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for details.


Columbia County. T10N-R9E, Section 25. 81 acres.

Driving directions

From Arlington, go south and east on Highways 51 and 60 for 0.5 miles, then south on Goose Pond Road for 1.5 miles. The area is on the west side of the causeway.

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.

Audubon Goose Pond is owned by: The Madison Audubon