Why You Should Visit
Because you can get a taste of the American West — a land of cacti and lizards, sand dunes and dry grasses — without going far from home.
Known as the "Wisconsin Desert," Spring Green is a place where forest meets bluff, and bluff levels off into plains and dunes. It is located in the unglaciated region of the state.
Spring Green Prairie is home to 10 of Wisconsin’s 16 species of tiger beetles.
Southwestern Wisconsin: Sauk County just north of Spring Green in the Wisconsin River valley.
Please stay on the trail during your visit; it will eventually take you to the top of the bluff. To avoid damaging the fragile habitat on the slope, please do not hike straight up or down the bluff and do not paraglide at the preserve.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Spring Green Preserve harbors some of Wisconsin's rarest plant communities, including sand prairie, dry bluff prairie, and black oak barrens. Due to changes in land use, all of these communities, which once covered thousands of acres across the state, have almost completely disappeared.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
This preserve began as part of a 480-acre joint management agreement between The Nature Conservancy, the Head Foundation, the Wisconsin Natural Areas Preservation Council, and local landowners. The Conservancy acquired its first parcel of land at Spring Green Preserve in 1971. The Conservancy owns and manages over 1,111 acres.
Two primary types of land management activities occur here:
- Removal of red cedars that invade the prairies and shade out native plant species
- Use of controlled fires to suppress competing trees and shrubs, and to stimulate the growth of native grasses and wildflowers
The following groups have worked together to understand and protect the site's rare and interdependent communities of plants and animals:
- Conservancy staff and volunteers
- local landowners
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Natural Areas Program
- Wisconsin Conservation Corps