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Beaver Brook

No. 690



Beaver Brook State Natural Area features one of the most botanically diverse sites in the Northwest Sands Ecological Landscape. Patches of the older and old-growth northern dry-mesic forest, including natural origin white and red pine, occur on the site. Older age-class forests of this type are unusual and no longer well-represented within the region. A rich diversity of forest herbs carpets the forest floor below a deeply shaded canopy and contains important habitat components such as abundant downed woody debris, snags and large canopy trees.

These stands tie into a larger matrix of the forest at varying stages of maturity with red oak, basswood, and aspen dominating the canopy. Three miles of Beaver Brook, a high-quality Class I trout stream, flows through the site. Shading the stream corridor is bur oak along with lowland forest trees such as black ash creating moderate shade over bubbling seeps, springs and a lush ground layer of ferns, horsetails and sedges.

Abundant speckled alder occupies a one-mile swathe along the stream in the core of this area; the brushy wetland is punctuated by scattered spring ponds. The stream corridor provides a breeding habitat for an uncommon bird found here at its northern range limit and contains a high number of Species of Greatest Conservation needs, including many that are more commonly found in the boreal forest region to the north. Beaver Brook is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2019.

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 and/or under the Directions 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.

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. For more information, see Wis. Admin. Code NR 45. For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Allowable activities: DNR-owned land

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

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Scientific research (permit required)
  • Outdoor education
  • Wild edibles (What is this?)
  • Pets (Rules)
  • Wildlife viewing

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 Beaver Brook Wildlife Area, Washburn County. T38N-R12W, Sections 4, 5, 8, 9, 15, 16. 307 acres.

Driving directions

Various DNR parking lots provide access. From the intersection of Highways 253 and 63 south of Spooner, go south on 253 for 1.1 miles, then east on Wildlife Road for 0.9 miles to the 2nd DNR parking lot for Harrison Lake.

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]



Beaver Brook is owned by the DNR