McCaslin Mountain Research Natural Area

Grandma Lake Wetlands RNA. Photo by Lucy Tyrrell, USDA Forest Service.

The RNA is an excellent example of a quartzite hill and knoll complex. Such shallow-to-bedrock features are uncommon on the Nicolet National Forest. The RNA supports a hardwood-dominated forest, which includes northern red oak (Quercus rubra), American beech (Fagus grandifolia) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) species. The combined effects of macroclimate, physiography, bedrock and glacial geology, soil, and vegetation within the RNA make it a distinctive natural feature. The cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea), a state threatened species, has been observed in the area.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA:
The nearest NOAA stations are located at of the towns of Wabeno, 10 miles (17 km) to the northwest, and at Townsend, 8 miles (13 km) to the southwest.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) :
The average annual precipitation is 32 inches (81 cm), and the average annual snowfall is 46 inches (117 cm).
Maximum and minimum temperatures:
The mean high temperature occurs in July at 68 ºF and the mean low temperature in January at 0 ºF.
Elevation ranges from 1360 to 1609 feet (415 m to 490 m).
Geology and Soils:
The site includes unique shallow-to-bedrock outcroppings. Glacial material on either side of the mountain differ significantly. Material on the north side was deposited by the Langlade Lobe and on the south side by the Green Bay Lobe. Soils where development occurred shallow-to-bedrock are Michigamme Rock Outcrop Complex. Sarona soils comprise the southern deposits, and Padus the northern.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Southern Superior Uplands (212J)
Brule and Paint Rivers , Drumlinized Ground Moraine (212Jl)
Stambaugh-Padus (82)
Sarona-Keweenaw (98)
Michigamme Rock Outcrop Complex (344)
Plant Communities:

SAF Cover Types (list acres):

Kuchler Types (list acres):

16 Aspen (191) 94 Mixed Mesophytic Forest
26 Sugar Maple/Basswood (9)  
39 Black Ash/American Elm/Red Maple (9)  
55 Northern Red Oak (282)  
60 Beech/Sugar Maple (25)  

Complete Plant List

Common Shrub Species:
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), beaked hazel-nut (Corylus cornuta), fly honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis), bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), round-leaved dogwood (Cornus rugosa), arrow-wood (Viburnum acerifolium), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).
Common Herbaceous Species:
Sedge (Carex pennsylvanica), big-leaved aster (Aster macrophyllus), wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), forest lousewort (Pedicularis canadensis), lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana), beech-drops (Epifagus virginiana), squaw-root (Conopholis americana), spotted coral root (Corallorhiza maculata), Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora), pinesap (Monotropa hypopithys), tall corydalis (Corydalis sempervirens), rock spikemoss (Selaginella rupestris).
Common Mammal Species:
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), black bear (Ursus americanus), gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), north American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), fisher (Martes pennanti).
Common Bird Species:
Cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea), wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), yellow-throated vireo (Vireo flavifrons), least flycatcher (Empidonaxminimus), eastern wood peewee (Contopus virens), red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceous), ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus), scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea), turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo).

Related link: Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program McCaslin Mountain

Related Reports and Publications

Fouse, Fred. 1992. Establishment Record for McCaslin Mountain Research Natural Area within the Nicolet National Forest, Forest County, Wisconsin. 69 pp.

Howe, R.W. 1996. Birds of the Nicolet National Forest. Report submitted to the U.S. Forest Service, Rhinelander, WI.

Last Modified: August 20, 2021