Van Vliet Hemlocks is a newer SNA and features an old-growth hemlock forest with a smattering of bog lakes, fen, kettle depressions, and other wetlands. The larger of two parcels is found on the east side of Van Vliet and Averill Lakes. The DNR describes a parking area at the end of East Van Vliet Lake Road, but my memory recalls more of a gravelly dead-end/cul-de-sac. A smaller parcels is found on the west shore of Van Vliet Lake and is accessible via West Van Vliet Lake Road. Networks of trails loop through both parcels.
My vist to Van Vliet Hemlocks was as part of a field trip, which was completely on trail. Hemlock forests are a favorite natural community of mine for their beauty and relative rarity in Wisconsin. Our trek took us over the undulating terrain as we explored the hemlocks, the kettle depressions, and looked for salamanders beneath rotting logs. This site has a lot more to offer than what we saw on this trip. In particular, I would like to explore the bog lakes and fen in greater detail, two communities that rank even higher in my book. One negative, if one could call it that, in exploring hemlock forests is the paucity of available light. Sans tripod, I had an interesting experience taking photographs. So be it, if that is the price to pay for the conservation of these forested gems.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Van Vliet Hemlocks can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Hemlock Forest, Bog, Fen, Lake|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Ownership||Wisconsin DNR; More info: Trail Map (pdf)|