Berg Prairie & Billy Goat Ridge, SNA #596 (230/679)

Berg Prairie & Billy Goat Ridge features dry prairie and dry-mesic forest in two disjunct parcels within the Coulee Experimental Forest.  Berg Prairie is the largest dry prairie remnant left in Wisconsin and is found on CTH II just south of Anthony Road.  There are a couple of DNR parking areas in the general vicinity, but I would consider parking along CTH II if the shoulder was wide enough.  Billy Goat Ridge is located approximately 1.5 miles north as-the-crow-flies.  Park along Russian Coulee Road, a gravel lane which dead-ends near the site.

With ambient light dwindling, I decided to head to Billy Goat Ridge because another natural area, Northeast Coulee Oak Woodland borders it to the north.  The walk into the site was arduous through a few hundred feet of tangled vines, thorns, and other shrubbery.  It is always a neat experience, however, to reach one of these hill prairie remnants.  Typically small and under constant threat of encroachment from the surrounding woody species, they are reminders of a larger landscape that once held court over much of southern Wisconsin.  Purple prairie clover and evening primrose were the most abundant flowering species observed here.  As darkness approached, I continued north over the ridge and into Northeast Coulee Oak Woodland.  High on my list of places to revisit because of the Berg Prairie parcel, I eagerly await my chance to return.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Berg Prairie & Billy Goat Ridge can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 596
County La Crosse
Natural Communities / Geology  Dry Prairie, Dry-Mesic Forest, Cliff
Size (Acres) 92
Parking Roadside
Trails No
Easy to Find No
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Coulee Experimental Forest
Dates Visited 7.29.11

La Crosse
La Crosse County
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