Franklin Savanna contains the bones of an oak savanna within the decidedly urban Milwaukee County. It is one of just 3 SNA’s found within the county. It can be found on Oakwood Road, south of the city of Franklin, in the southeast corner of the county. Parking here is dicey at best. The road is quite narrow and there is very little shoulder in most places. On a more recent visit, a gravel area with room for a few cars was present off the road, though it was unclear if this was available for public parking.
The great bur oaks bely the open environment that used to dominate this area, but there is virtually no evidence of a present-day savanna. The natural area as presently constituted is basically a southern mesic forest with a creek and a few scattered opening filled with grasses. There is no information found on Milwaukee County Park’s website, though they have a Natural Areas program. A brief description can be found on the website of the Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, but everything I have found suggests that this is a site that can be restored if funding is attained. I have read that efforts are underway to restore the site, but as of fall 2016, I saw little evidence to that effect. In the meantime, enjoy a stroll in a dense forest, but bring the bug spray!
More of my photos (and full-res) from Franklin Savanna can be viewed here.
Just under 400 more blog posts to go! Well, actually a few more than that remain; counting SNA’s delisted since I started and a few SNA’s to be designated, the current total is 689, though hopefully, that will increase!
If you would like to help support this project, please consider a donation. There are many SNA’s yet to visit and even more to revisit and I ultimately plan to write a book about my adventures. Thank you!
|Natural Communities / Geology||Oak Savanna|
|Easy to Find||No|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Ownership||Milwaukee County; More info: Wisconsin DNR|
|Dates Visited||6.16.13 / 9.3.16|
2 Comments Add yours
The current attitude of those managing this site is essentially that savannas and prairies aren’t viable anymore, and there is concern that doing what it takes to restore savanna would extirpate from the site the forest birds that now use it and tiger salamanders (the latter could easily be accomodated). It’s not ever going to get what it needs. The large bur and white oaks will decline. It’s kind to call it a mesic forest. It’s a collapsed ecosystem. It’s a bunch of dying oaks drowning in buckthorn.