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Totogan Pines

No. 686

686_TotoganPines.jpegPhoto by Ryan Magana


The major feature of Totogan Pines is a maturing stand of northern dry-mesic forest in the southern portion of the site, found along a winding stretch of the Totagatic River. The forest is dominated by red pine averaging 16 inches in diameter with some individuals over 20 inches. This pine stand is of natural origin, a rare occurrence in this part of the state, especially with trees of this size. The forest also contains occasional white pine and scattered to moderately dense northern pin oak and red maple. Big-tooth aspen and paper birch are widely scattered throughout. Overall shrub density is low. Herbaceous vegetation is common and includes cow-wheat, Canada mayflower, whorled loosestrife, and American starflower.

The riparian zone is almost exclusively steep banks dominated by jack and red pine with lesser amounts of bur oak. Small terraces are occasionally present and contain bur oak with northern pin oak as an associate. The ground layer of the riparian terrace is dominated by wetland species such as blue joint grass, false dragonhead, and poison ivy. The northwest portion of the site contains a wetland complex including forested seeps running into an oxbow lake, and spring runs bordered by bands and pockets of northern sedge meadow and alder thicket. The springs and spring runs originate in a tamarack swamp, in places mixed with swamp hardwoods and black spruce. The central part of the site contains a relatively open landscape that has been harvested in the recent past.

Scattered red pine is present along with occasional aspen and pin oak saplings. The shrub layer is dominated by dense waist-high hazelnut. Between the hazel thickets are patches of open barrens with a ground layer of species including big bluestem, little bluestem, hoary puccoon, rough blazing star, western sunflower, long-leaved bluets, butterfly weed, and harebell. Totogan Pines is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2017.

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.

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 [exit DNR]. 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.

Prohibited activities: all SNAs

Although a handful of sites allow activities like primitive camping (e.g. Lower Chippewa River on sand bars) or horseback riding (e.g. S. Kettle Moraine), the activities listed below are generally prohibited on DNR-owned 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
  • Drones: Flying-related activities, including the use of drones, hang-gliders and model airplanes, are prohibited. Permission may be issued by the SNA Program for the use of drones for educational or research purposes
  • 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 Totagatic Wild River Property, Washburn County. T41N-R13W, Sections 3, 4. T42N-R13W, Section 33. 239 acres.

Driving directions

From the intersection of US 53 and State Highway 77 in Minong, go west on 77 for 0.8 miles, then north on County I for 0.8 miles, then west on Nancy Lake Road for 5 miles, southwest on Peninsula Road for 0.75 miles, then south on Deeper Lake Road 0.6 miles, continue south on Banks Lake Road approximately 1.5 miles to a logging road. Walk south past a berm and through a harvested area into 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]

Totogan Pines is owned by: Wisconsin DNR