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Barney Creek

No. 301


Photo by Aaron Carlson


Within a gently sloping rocky ravine is Barney Creek - a small spring-fed stream flowing over gravel and boulders, The cool, moist microclimate within the stream corridor contains a rich mesic forest with diverse herbaceous flora. The stream banks and adjacent slopes are covered with second-growth hardwoods dominated by sugar maple, basswood, aspen and yellow birch. Black cherry, red oak and white ash are also present. American elm, once a major canopy component here, has been lost to Dutch elm disease.
A generally sparse shrub layer includes ironwood, hazelnut, dogwoods and fly honeysuckle. Characteristic herbaceous species include numerous spring ephemerals and wood nettle, lady fern, Pennsylvania sedge, wild sarsaparilla, Virginia waterleaf and orange jewelweed. Also present are dwarf scouring-rush, golden saxifrage and plantain-leaved sedge (Carex plantaginea). Notable species include two rare plants. Barney Creek is owned by the USDA Forest Service and was designated a State Natural Area in 1996.

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 under the Maps 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 is a non-DNR-owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the landowner. 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. More details regarding allowable uses of this non-DNR-owned SNA may be noted above and posted with signs on the property site.

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.


Located within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Oconto County. T33N-R15E, Sections 6, 7. 246 acres.

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 32 and County Highway T in Townsend, go north on Highway 32 for 3.9 miles, then south and west on FR 2123 (Diamond Roof Road) for 1.4 miles to a gated access lane west of the road. Walk west on an unimproved forest service road 1.4 miles to the west fork of Barney Creek. A map and compass are recommended.

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]

Barney Creek is owned by the US Forest Service