The Baraboo Hills of Sauk and Columbia counties are all that remain of one of the most ancient rock outcrops in North America. A forested sanctuary underlain by durable rock called Baraboo quartzite, the Hills are an ecologically unique part of the Midwest.
The oak, maple, and basswood forests of the Baraboo Hills constitute the largest block of upland forest still standing in southern Wisconsin. They provide habitat for more than 1,800 kinds of plants and animals.
The Nature Conservancy first came to the Baraboo Bluffs in the early 1960s at the request of local residents and university professors who knew how ecologically unique this area was and who wanted the Conservancy's help in protecting the area. Today the Conservancy has 900 members in the Baraboo Hills area.
The Nature Conservancy is a private, non-profit conservation organization. Our mission is to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
Protecting the large block of forest from scattered rural residential development (the Conservancy concentrates its efforts on the forest block west of Devil's Lake State Park).
Land acquisition from willing sellers and generous donors (the Conservancy pays fair market value; contact the Baraboo office for more information).
The Conservancy has been working in the Baraboo Bluffs for more than 30 years and community concerns are important to us. The following is a list of some of the things we do to "give back" to the community:
The Conservancy owns 8,781 acres at 10 preserves in the Hills, including:
As of October 12, 2012, the Conservancy has helped protect a total of 10,904 acres in the Hills. This figure includes lands owned and managed by the Conservancy, conservation easements, government co-ops and assists.
Most Nature Conservancy preserves are open for public use as long as visitors enjoy these lands for low-impact recreation only — hiking, bird-watching, nature study, and photography. Deer hunting is allowed at preserves by permission only. Maps of individual preserves in the Baraboo Hills are available free of charge.
Ann Calhoun, Baraboo Hills Project Coordinator
If you have any questions about The Nature Conservancy's Baraboo Hills project, please call us at (608) 356-5300 or stop by our office at 124 Second Street, Room 33, Baraboo.