Foulds Creek Research Natural Area

Foulds Creek flows south as it enters the north boundary of the RNA. [Brzeskiewicz 2013]

Medford-Park Falls
The Foulds Creek RNA is a complex of forested and open wetland areas with a good to excellent representation of late successional forest communities in mature status. Throughout the site are older forested wetland communities surrounded by northern dry-mesic and mesic forests with eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red pine (Pinus resinosa), northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and super canopy white pine (Pinus strobus). A prominent glacial esker runs in a southeast to northwest direction with several springs originating from its base and flowing through the adjacent swamp. Foulds Creek, a cold water stream, flows through the site.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA:
The Park Falls DNR Headquarters in Park Falls is 22 mi (35 km) northwest of the RNA.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) :
Annual precipitation averages 32.1 inches (81.5 cm), 69% of which falls between April and September. Average seasonal snowfall is 41.2 inches (104.6 cm).
Maximum and minimum temperatures:
Daily summertime temperatures average 58° F; average daily maximum temperatures average 50.5° F. Average temperature in the winter is 23.8° F; average daily minimum temperatures average 31.1° F.
Elevations range from 1,560 feet (475 m) to 1,660 feet (506 m) MSL.
Geology and Soils:
The most notable glacial feature in this RNA is a two mile (3 kilometer) long esker, a winding, narrow ridge of sand, gravel, and boulders deposited by a stream flowing on, within, or beneath the once stagnant Laurentide glacier. The other main geologic feature is the undulating, hilly surface formed of washed till and outwash a mixture of sorted and unsorted debris of all sizes worked over by the glacier melt-water.
Soils within the RNA are quite varied and range from deep, acid, poorly drained soils to well-drained loamy sand soils. Peaty acid soils generally occur in depressions and drainage-ways (0-2% slope) with sphagnum mosses, and woody and herbaceous plants comprising the organic source material. Soils in low areas are very poorly drained. On nearly level to undulating topography (0-5% slope) are loamy sand soils over medium and coarse sands. These soils are well-drained. Areas of 5-15% slope contain loamy sand over sand and gravel outwash material. These soils are well to excessively drained and contain greater than 30% gravel.
Aquatic Features:
Foulds Creek runs through the RNA and flows north into Pike Lake, which is a part of the South Fork Flambeau River system. Foulds Creek is a Class II trout stream. Streams in this classification may have some natural reproduction, but not enough to fully utilize available food and space. These streams often have good survival and carryover of adult brook trout. There is a spring pond within the RNA surrounded by sedge meadow.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Northern Highlands (212X)
Northern Highlands Pitted Outwash (212Xb) and Glidden Loamy Drift Plain (212Xa)
Landtype Associations
Chequamegon Washed Till and Outwash (Xa03) and a very small section of Northern Highland Outwash Plains (Xb01)
Plant Communities:

Curtis Community Type

Kotar Habitat Types

Dominant Species

Initial US National Vegetation Classification

Northern mesic forest ATM eastern hemlock, yellow birch, sugar maple Tsuga canadensis - Acer saccharum - Betula alleghaniensis Forest CEGL005044 or CEGL002457
Northern mesic forest TMC eastern hemlock, northern white cedar, red pine, and white pine Tsuga canadensis – (Betula alleghaniensis) Forest CEGL002598 (most likely) or CEGL002590
Northern mesic forest -transitional ATM paper birch, balsam fir undetermined -likely succeeding to white pine, sugar maple, eastern hemlock
Northern wet-mesic forest TMC eastern hemlock, northern white cedar, yellow birch, white pine Tsuga canadensis - Betula alleghaniensis Saturated Forest CEGL005003
Northern wet forest   tamarack & black spruce Picea mariana - (Larix laricina) / Ledum groenlandicum / Sphagnum spp. Forest CEGL005271 or CEGL005218
Northern wet forest   black ash, red maple Fraxinus nigra - Mixed Hardwoods - Conifers / Cornus sericea / Carex spp. Forest CEGL002105 or CEGL002071
Alder thicket   Tag alder (Alnus incana) Alnus incana Swamp Shrubland CEGL002381
Sedge meadow   tussock sedge, other grasses and sedges undetermined
Open bog   Labrador tea, leatherleaf Chamaedaphne calyculata - Ledum groenlandicum - Kalmia polifolia Bog Dwarf-shrubland CEGL005278
Spring run- hard   not applicable not applicable
Stream: cold, slow, hard – Fould’s Creek   not applicable not applicable

Complete Plant List

Common Shrub Species:
 The wet-mesic forests include American fly honeysuckle, Lonicera canadensis; early low blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium; mountain maple, Acer spicatum. The wet forest communities include Labrador tea, Ledum spp.
Common Herbaceous Species:
The wet-mesic forests forests include American starflower, Trientalis borealis; bunchberry, Cornus canadensis; wood sorrel, Oxalis montana; Canada mayflower, Maianthemum canadensis; wild sarsaparilla, Aralia nudicaulis. Sphagnum moss dominates the wet forest communities.
Common Fauna
beaver, Castor canadensis; muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus; mink, Mustela vison; timber wolf, Canis lupis; white tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus; black bear, Ursus americanus; red squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus; brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis; Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias.
Potential Research Topics
Foulds Creek RNA provides opportunities to investigate timber wolves and denning, forest bats, trout survival in Class-II trout streams, great blue heron nesting habitat, invasive earthworms, raptor habitat, and wintering grounds for white tailed deer.

Related link: Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Foulds Creek

Related Reports and Publications

Alverson, W.S.; Waller, D.M. 1997. Deer populations and the widespread failure of hemlock regeneration in northern forests. In: McShea, W., Rappole, J. (Eds.), The Science of Overabundance: Deer Ecology and Population Management. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, DC, pp. 280–297.

Alverson, W.S.; Waller, D.M.; Solheim, S.L. 1988. Forests too deer: edge effects in northern Wisconsin. Conservation. Biol. 2,348–358.

Bushman, Matthew M. 2006. Plant Species Change In Northern Wisconsin Wet-mesic Forest Communities From 1952 to 2005: A research paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science, College of Natural Resources University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Bushman, M. 2006. Two records of achlorophyllous Cypripedium acaule from Wisconsin. The Michigan Botanist 193.

Brzeskiewicz, Marjory.  2013.  Establishment Record Foulds Creek Research Natural Area.  Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Medford-Park Falls District, Price County, Wisconsin.   45 pp.

Cook, James. unpublished. Change associated with the CNF vegetation monitoring network, and comparisons of managed and unmanaged forests.  University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.  Preliminary 2009 data stored at the CNNF Park Falls Office.

Curtis, J.T. 1959. The Vegetation of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press: Madison WI.

Danz, N.P.; Bracey, A.; Niemi, G.J. 2008. Breeding bird monitoring in Great Lakes National Forests 1991-2007. NRRI Technical Report NRRI/TR-2008/11, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN.

Danz, N.P.; Niemi, G.J.; Lind, J.; Hanowski, J.M. 2007. Birds of Western Great Lakes Forests.

Kotar, J.; Kovach, J.; Burger, T.  2002.  A Guide to Forest Communities and Habitats of Northern Wisconsin (2nd edition).  Madison: University of Wisconsin, Department of Forest Ecology and Management.

NGDC. National Geographic Data Committee. 2012. National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS). Available online: Accessed 2012.

Vora, R. S. 1997. Developing programs to monitor ecosystem health and effectiveness of management practices on Lakes States National Forests, USA. Biol. Conserv. 80:289-302.

Last Modified: August 19, 2021