Spider Lake Research Natural Area

Spider Lake RNA. Photo by Lucy Tyrrell, USDA Forest Service.

The primary distinguishing feature in this RNA is a high quality stand of swamp hardwoods dominated by black ash (Fraxinus nigra). Multiple age and size classes of this dominant species are well represented. The shrub layer is well developed.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA:
The nearest weather station is in Mellen, Wisconsin, approximately 12 miles (19.2 km) to the northeast of the RNA.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) :
The mean annual precipitation is 32 inches (80 cm). Average annual snowfall is 60 inches (150 cm).
Maximum and minimum temperatures:
The mean annual temperature is 39.5 ºF. The maximum summer temperature is 101 ºF. and winter minimum temperature -49 ºF.
Elevation ranges from 1460 to 1470 feet (438 m-441 m).
Geology and Soils:
Precambian granite bedrock underlies the area. Landforms are the result of continental glaciation of the late Wisconsin ice age. Soil is the Carbondale series. The soils are derived from ablation till and outwash of the woodfordian substage till of the Chippewa lobe ice sheet.
Aquatic Features:
Small pools of standing or slowly moving water, lakes, kettle depressions and swamps are abundant. Water flows from south to north, towards a small stream that drains to Spider Lake in the east. The headwaters of the Chippewa and Marengo rivers are in this area.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Southern Superior (212J)
Winegar Moraines (212Jc)

SAF Cover Types (list acres):

Kuchler Types (list acres):

39 Black ash-American elm-red maple (94) 98 Northern Hardwood-Fir Fore

Complete Plant List

Common Shrub Species:
Speckled alder (Alnus rugosa), mountain maple (Acer spicatum), red osier-dogwood (Cornus sericea), winterberry (Ilex verticillata).
Common Herbaceous Species:
Cinnamon-fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), sedges (Carex trispermaC. crinitaC. intumescens), marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), swamp-saxifrage (Saxifraga pensylvanica), creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula).
Common Mammal Species:
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), snowshoe rabbit (Lepus americanus), black bear (Ursus americanus), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus).
Common Bird Species:
Great-crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus), veery (Catharus fuscescens), black and white warbler (Mniotilta varia), northern water thrush (Seiurus noveboracensis), ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), American woodcock (Scolopax minor).

Related link: Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Spider Lake

Related Reports and Publications

Pedersen, Paul. 1989. Establishment Record for Spider Lake Research Natural Area within the Chequamegon National Forest, Ashland County, Wisconsin. 24 p.

Last Modified: August 20, 2021