Enterprise Hemlocks State Natural Area protects a mature mesic forest, predominantly composed of hemlocks and associated ephemeral ponds and boggy areas. The site is located south of Rhinelander in the southeast portion of Oneida County. There are 3 parcels, the northernmost of which can be accessed from Zimmer Rd, west of CTH G, and two southern parcels, which can be accessed form Shingle Mill Rd, also west of CTH G, by hiking in overland through Oneida County Forest lands.
Per the DNR, the quality of this site was discovered in the 1980s when, during the course of road construction, several hemlocks were cut down and determined to be >200 years old, with one perhaps as old as the 1720s. Often in situations like this in which a State Natural Area exists within a block of County lands, the County maintains ownership. In this instance, DNRs website states that this SNA is owned by the DNR and the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), though it is not clear which entity owns which parcels and the publicly available mapping tools suggest that this SNA is completely DNR-owned. Ownership in this case is not particularly important in terms of accessing the land, but is one of those interesting quirks for me to ruminate on from time to time.
My exploration on this day focused on the northern parcel, as it is described as one of the parcels containing the best hemlocks as well as being easiest/most direct to access. Being late August at the time of the visit, however, the ephemeral ponds had indeed lived up to their ephemeral status and were largely gone from the landscape. The terrain was gorgeously rolling and sun-dappled on this steamy summer day, though the relative lack of light was, at times, inconvenient for hand-held photography. One would be wise to take care when moving about in this type of natural community as there are many ‘ankle-breakers’, tree roots, or soft areas that a foot may punch through.
Similar to the previous two posts, Rice and Spur Lakes, blooming species variety was almost non-existent, as to be expected in a hemlock forest in late summer. Most plants observed were simply leaves or were in the process of going to seed. For that reason, I would like to revisit this site in mid-late spring to, perhaps, catch a few species in bloom. Additionally, I would like to explore the other eastern parcel and time-permitting, venture over to the larger western parcel.
On my personal revisit scale, I would place this one at a 2 of 5. I need to revisit this SNA for both completeness and for botanical reasons, but it is not a pressing revisit.
Additional photos can be found on Flickr.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Northern Mesic Forest, Ephemeral Pond, Bog, Creek|
|Parking||Parking Area (unofficial)|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Recommended Footwear||Knee boots|
|Ownership||Wisconsin DNR; BCPL|