Pleasant Valley Conservancy (28/674)

I could probably write a small novel summarizing my numerous visits to Pleasant Valley Conservancy, but I’ll hold that for a chapter in my memoirs (ha!).  Its proximity to my house is one of the reasons I have visited so often, as is its proximity to another SNA, Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie, which often makes for a nice afternoon of exploration and both sites are reasonably family-friendly as well.  The main draw of this site, however, is its diversity of natural communities, the ease in which they are navigated, and the appreciation for all of the active work and management ongoing here.  PVC is owned in part by The Prairie Enthusiasts and by Tom and Kathie Brock, two private citizens whose tireless restoration efforts cannot be understated.  The site is burned in part every year and removal of invasives and reseeding of native species is a continual process.  There is a small grassy area to park in from which a network of trails and service roads begins.  My usual loop is to walk straight through the main prairie, up the slope into the oak savanna, and then west along the ridge and down to the road before crossing into the wetland portion of the site back into prairie before completing the loop.  It is a great spot to visit at any time of the year.  The spring ephemerals in the oak savanna are beautiful to behold while the prairie floral inhabitants changes seemingly every other week.  Numerous rare species can be found here, too many to list, but one of my favorites is the cream gentian (Gentiana alba) which was removed as a protected species in Wisconsin in 2014.  It is still a very nice plant to find and certainly more rare than its bluer cousins.  The red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), a species of Special Concern due to its declining breeding status in the state, can also be found here.  All in all, just a great overall site to visit and I highly recommend a visit here if you haven’t already been, or another one if you have.

More of my photos from Pleasant Valley Conservancy can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 551
County Dane
Parking Parking Area (grass)
Trails Yes
Easy to Find Yes
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries Yes
Ownership The Prairie Enthusiasts; Private; (Wisconsin DNR)
Located Within na
Dates Visited 7.5.09 / 4.11.10 / 4.24.10 / 7.25.10 / 7.10.11 / 7.24.11 / 5.20.12 / 5.5.13 / 6.8.13 / 7.21.13 / 9.7.13 / 9.6.14 / 7.12.15 / 7.23.15 / 8.9.15

Dane County

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