Huiras Lake State Natural Area contains a seepage lake, dry-mesic forest, and an assortment of wetland natural communities in northwestern Oazaukee County. Owned by the Ozaukee-Washington County Land Trust (OWLT), Huiras Lake is open to a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, birding, fishing, hunting, boating (though there is no easy way to get a boat on the water here), and cross-country skiing.
The trail emanates from a parking lot off of Cover Valley Rd, wanders through an old farm field (perhaps a prairie restoration possibility here?), before leading to a boardwalk to the lake. A side trail meanders off into the forest and dead-ends. I came here in hiking boots and regretted that choice as it limited the amount of wetland exploration I could do. The namesake lake was gorgeous on this fall day, with ample lily pads contrasting with the amber stalks of senescing vegetation.
A couple of nerdy notes to the SNA aficionado strike me as I review these maps. First, as one can see in the map at right, the SNA is composed of parcels owned by the DNR to the north and OWLT to the south. Second, from the map at left, we can see that OWLT, does not show the DNR-owned SNA parcel, though the OWLT’s webpage for this site does note its SNA status. Finally, it should be noted that the southernmost portion of the lake is not within the SNA boundaries, though it is accessible and usable as it is publicly-owned. At some point during my many travels, I realized that just because an SNA is named Generic Lake, does not mean that Generic Lake is the focal point of the site. In this case, the wetlands and forest are the primary ecosystems to be protected and the DNR and OWLT have worked together to do just that.
As with many of my visits on this particular day, I immediately knew I would be back at a more botanically interesting time of year and with the proper footwear. As it is protected by OWLT, I expect it to be fairly well taken care of and hope to see some interesting wetland plants next time around.
Additional photos can be found on Flickr.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Southern Dry-Mesic Forest, Conifer-Hardwood Forest, Bog, Lake|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Recommended Footwear||Rubber boots|
|Ownership||Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust; More Info|