Blue River Sand Barrens, SNA #69 (81/674)

Blue River Sand Barrens features oak barrens and sand dunes on an old alluvial plain of the Wisconsin River.  The site is easy to reach with parking along Wightman Road, a sandy/gravelly access lane.

Blue River Sand Barrens is another of my all-time favorite sites.   The presence of moving sand dunes is similar to Spring Green Preserve and Arena Sand Pines & Barrens, though the dunes here are demonstrably larger.  Bird’s-foot violet, one of my favorites, was found in large patches throughout the landscape as was prickly pear cactus.  The site was bone-dry during my visit and every step produced an audible crunch.  Interestingly, these dune features are likely the result of some initial human disturbance long ago, be it plowing or grazing or something similar.  No matter the cause, an intriguing natural community is produced and a somewhat unique experience can be had by visiting this and the few other similar sites in Wisconsin.  I certainly would not mind another visit to this great location.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Blue River Sand Barrens can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 69
County Grant
Natural Communities / Geology
Sand Barrens, Dry Prairie, Sand Dunes
Size (Acres) 128
Parking Roadside
Trails No
Easy to Find No
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries Yes
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
Dates Visited 5.1.10


Grant County

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