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Devine Lake & Mishonagon Creek

No. 507


Photo by Randy Hoffman


Devine Lake and Mishonagon Creek contain an extensive wetland complex including a large sedge meadow, mixed conifer swamp, shrub-carr, and northern wet forest bordering Devine Lake. Of note, is the exceptional floristic diversity within this complex. The meadow is dominated by blue-joint grass, sedges, and rushes with marsh fern, marsh bellflower, turtlehead, marsh marigold, flat-top aster, and northern bog goldenrod.

The tamarack-dominated wet forest occupies the wetland within the Devine Lake basin between the open sedge meadow and a tall shrub community at the upland edge. Understory dominants are sphagnum mosses and few-seeded sedges. Other characteristic species include large cranberry, round-leaved sundew, northern blue-flag iris, marsh skullcap, rose pogonia, white bog orchid, three-leaved goldthread, and crested shield fern. Shrubs include marsh cinquefoil, leather-leaf, mountain maple, velvet-leaf blueberry, mountain holly, and willows.

The 95-acre Devine Lake is a spring-fed, drained lake that occupies a depression in an extensive sandy, pitted glacial outwash. Several large springs and seepages feed the lake and surrounding wetlands from the north. The lake harbors numerous aquatic macrophytes including wild rice, which occupies 30-40% of the lake basin in some years. Many rare animals and plants are found here, some of them represented by large populations. Devine Lake and Mishonagon Creek are owned by the DNR and were designated a State Natural Area in 2007.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for various 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.

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 the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Vilas County. T40N-R6E, Sections 3, 4, 9, 10, 15, 16. T41N-R6E, Sections 33, 34. 1,186 acres.

Driving directions

From Woodruff, go north on Highwfor ay 51 for about 4 miles, then west on N. Farmingfor  Road for 1.2 miles, then north on Ruxfor  Road for 1.6 miles, then go northwest on an unnamed road 0.15 miles and veer north at the Y 0.5 miles to the west edge of the site. Walk west through the conifer swamp and to Devine Lake.

The DNR's state natural areas program comprises lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions, and private individuals. While most 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]



Devine Lake & Mishonagon Creek is owned by: Wisconsin DNR