Fort McCoy Barrens includes one of the largest remaining barrens communities as well as two pristine creeks. Found within the Fort McCoy Military Installation in Monroe County, a visit requires some special hoops to jump through including calling ahead to ask permission and displaying an informational card in your windshield as you park along the road.
I was fortunate to visit this site as part of a field trip and so was able to avoid the aforementioned hoops. The trip was lead by the base’s former naturalist who described the history of the land. Our time was spent in the main barrens parcel south of 18th Lane. The barrens were beautiful in their green and yellow hues while puffy white clouds glided gently through the brilliant blue sky. Flowering spurge, black-eyed Susan, slender penstemon, Carolina larkspur, and hoary pucoon were the most abundant flowering species observed. Also of great interest was an upland sandpiper that made several passes through the air above us over the course of several minutes. Tht was the first of that species I had ever seen. The site is known for the presence of numerous other rare species including forbs (praire fame-flower), birds (grasshopper sparrow), and butterflies (Karner blue) among others. I would very much like to return here someday to explore the barrens further as well as the creeks which are found to the north and south of the barrens area.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Fort McCoy Barrens can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Barrens, Creek|
|Easy to Find||No|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Ownership||US Department of Defense; More info: Wisconsin DNR|
|Located Within||Fort McCoy Army Installation|