Rice Lake (323/693)

*experimenting with post format; bear with me*

Rice Lake State Natural Area contains the eponymous lake as well as surrounding wetland, sedge meadow, poor fen, and upland islands found within Thunder Lake State Wildlife Area in northeastern Oneida County, just south of Eagle River. The site can be easily accessed from a couple of Wildlife Area parking lots on Rice Lake Rd, west of USH 45.

Rice Lake is a decently large 122 acres, but only 3 feet at its maximum depth. It is a drainage lake, meaning it has both an inlet and an outlet, with a stream as its main water source (more fascinating lake information at the DNR’s website here). Rice Creek and Burnham Creek meet Rice Lake at its northwest and southwest points, respectively. Additionally, a drainage ditch and two unnamed streams are found on the east side of the lake. Rice Creek always has struck me as odd, in that, it has two channels in places, as if it were either once a drainage channel and/or dammed by beavers.

Inlets and outlets of Rice Lake

Most of my exploration on this day was on the east side of the lake amidst the sedge meadow. The blooming species diversity was fairly low, not being helped of course by the timing of my visit (August). I very much plan to revisit this SNA for a few reasons. First, I would like to explore a bit further the fen and upland areas at a more botanically interesting time of year. I would also like to drop a kayak in, which, in addition to exploring the lake itself, may provide easier access to the other shores of the lake. Lastly, I would like to visit the adjoining One Stone Lake Hemlocks SNA to the north and one possible access route is to paddle Rice Lake to Rice Creek to Columbus Lake to the SNA.

On my personal revisit scale, I would place this one at a 4 of 5. I need to revisit this SNA for both completeness and for botanical reasons.

Additional photos can be found on Flickr.

SNA #40
Natural Communities / GeologyLake, Poor Fen, Creek, Sedge Meadow, Northern Mesic Forest
Size (Acres)1242
ParkingParking Areas
Easy to FindYes
Best Seen ByFoot + Kayak
Recommended FootwearKnee boots
Marked BoundariesNo
OwnershipWisconsin DNR
Located WithinThunder Lake State Wildlife Area
Date(s) Visited8.31.13

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