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Town Line Lake and Woods

No. 617

617_townline.jpegPhoto by Aaron Carlson


Town Line Lake and Woods feature a large, second-growth block of medium-aged, dry-mesic forest in an area of rough morainal topography dotted with kettle lakes and wetlands. Dominant trees include red oak, white oak, red maple, and big-tooth aspen. The importance of the canopy species varies locally within the block and scattered large individual trees are present. Other trees present include black cherry, paper birch, basswood, white ash, and white and red pines. White ash and red maple are the most common saplings and the tall shrub layer is composed of maple-leaf viburnum, beaked hazelnut, and witch-hazel. Characteristic herbs are big-leaf aster, lady fern, pointed tick-trefoil, naked tick-trefoil, wild geranium, sweet cicely, early meadow-rue, hog peanut, American starflower, and American lopseed.

Some areas are comprised of mostly northern plant species such as huckleberry, early low-blueberry, wintergreen, and narrow-leaved cow-wheat. Several small seepage lakes and kettle wetlands are also present including poor fen, tamarack swamp, and emergent marsh. Small, scattered patches of wet-mesic white pine-yellow birch-black spruce forest are found within the area. Town Line Lake is a 48-acre soft-water seepage lake with an intermittent outlet to the O'Neil Creek drainage system. Breeding birds include the common loon, red-shouldered hawk, red-headed woodpecker, least flycatcher, winter wren, veery, wood thrush, blue-winged warbler, golden-winged warbler, ovenbird, and cerulean warbler. Fish include northern pike, largemouth bass and slow-growing pan fish. Town Line Lake and Woods are owned by the DNR and Chippewa County. It was designated a State Natural Area in 2010.

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 Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area, Chippewa County. T31N-8W, Section 5. T32N-8W, Sections 32, 33. 635 acres.

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 27 and County M in Holcombe, go west on County M for about 12 miles, then south on 167th Street for 0.8 miles, then west on 260th Avenue for 0.85 miles, then south on 255th Avenue for 0.2 miles to a public access road leading to Townline Lake. Or, continue another one mile on 255th Avenue. The site lies north and south of the road.

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]

Town Line Lake and Woods are owned by: Wisconsin DNR