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Sander's Park Hardwoods

No. 56


Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR


Sanders Park Hardwoods consists of two slightly elevated swells separated by a shallow swale on an ancient terrace of Lake Michigan. Southern dry-mesic forests occupy the two swells with basswood, white oak, black walnut, red oak, and white ash. An elm-ash forest dominates the swale. Dutch elm disease and oak wilt have killed some of the larger canopy trees. The sapling layer is composed of ash, basswood, ironwood, and black cherry.

A wildflower guide lists 89 species of flowers and ferns including showy orchis, yellow lady's-slipper, false mermaid, false Solomon's seal, Trillium, sharp-lobed hepatica, spring-beauty, wild geranium, blue cohosh, and the introduced helleborine orchid. Ferns of interest are ostrich, rattlesnake, rusty woodsia, and ebony spleenwort. Breeding birds include great-crested flycatcher, eastern wood pewee, red-eyed vireo, mourning warbler, and indigo bunting. Originally purchased by Racine County in 1930, this area was later dedicated to Edwin Sanders, a local biology teacher. Sanders Park Hardwoods is owned by Racine County and was designated a State Natural Area in 1967.

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. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or 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.

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.


Within Sanders County Park, Racine County. T3N-R22E, Section 36 N1/2 SE1/4. 33 acres.

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highways 31 and 11 in southwest Racine, go south on 31 for 2.1 miles, then east on County Highway KR for 1 mile, then north on Woods Road for 0.5 miles to the Sanders County Park entrance on the east. The park road encircles the natural area. Several trails traverse the site.

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]

Sander's Park Hardwoods is owned by: Racine County