Fort McCoy (Military Reservation) Barrens State Natural Area

While this property is a heavily used military base, there are many rare species of plants and animals found here. This SNA protects an oak barrens of exceptional quality and diversity. Much of the area is open, sandy prairie with groves and scattered trees of black, Hill’s, bur, and white oaks. Several large sand blows are habitat for prairie fame-flower and prairie larkspur. Avian life is equally diverse and includes Upland Sandpipers and Grasshopper Sparrows.

Directions: Visitors must call in advance to access the SNA that is located within the Fort McCoy Military Reservation. From Sparta, go east on 8 miles on Hwy 21,then south 1.2 miles on Airfield Range Road to 18th Lane and park along the road. The site lies south of 18th Lane. Visitors must display in the passenger-side windshield a 5 x 8 card that lists name, purpose of visit, and emergency contact number.

Fort McCoy Barrens State Natural Area map

Gazetteer: Page 41, A-5 (prior to 10th edition). | Page 75, A-6 (10th edition).

Phone: 608/388-5766 or 5374 – visitors must call in advance for access permission.

Web site: WDNR Fort McCoy Barrens State Natural Area

Signature species: Eastern Bluebird, Sedge Wren, Lark Sparrow, Turkey Vulture and Karner Blue Butterfly.

Rare Species: Red-headed Woodpecker, Vesper and Henslow’s Sparrows, Bobolink and Western Meadowlark.

Seasonality: Open all year.

Parking: Parking lots.

Nearest food & water: Sparta.