Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail guide completed

Madison – The fifth and final segment of the Great Wisconsin
Birding and Nature Trail describing 71 automobile-accessible
waypoints in the 13 county Southern Savanna region is now complete.
The Southern Savanna Birding and Nature Trail (pdf; 9.2 MB) is
available on line through the Department of Natural Resources Web
site, and in hard copy at DNR service centers, Wisconsin Welcom
Centers (exit DNR) and soon though the maps and guides page
Department of Tourism Web site.

Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail

The complete guide offers some of the best wildlife and nature
viewing and learning experiences Wisconsin has to offer.
Information on the Great Wisconsin Birding and
Nature Trail
is available online.

“All five regions in the series have unique and interesting
offerings,” said DNR conservation biologist Susan Foote-Martin who
coordinated development of the trail. “But I like to think that we
saved some of the best for last. This segment includes the
internationally recognized Horicon Marsh, the Southern Unit of the
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Jefferson and Zeloski Marshes and a
number of State Natural Areas, all offering unique views of glacial
landscapes and prairie and oak savanna habitats.”

Several stops on Southern Savanna region trail are a bit
different from what travelers might expect to find at a typical
wildlife viewing stop. There is the International Crane Foundation
near Baraboo where visitors can see all 15 species of cranes from
around the world including a pair of the most endangered of all
cranes, the five-foot tall whooping crane; the Aldo Leopold Legacy
Center, built in honor of this famous author and naturalist,
between Baraboo and Portage; and the Hoard Historical Museum in
Fort Atkinson, which is home to the 500 mounted bird collection of
naturalist and Swedish immigrant, Thure Kumlien. Another
one-of-a-kind natural attraction is the Cave of the Mounds National
Natural Landmark near Blue Mounds.

“Old prairie and oak savanna species are plentiful in this
region,” add Foote-Martin. “For birders seeking to see and record
these species this region and the Buena Vista grassland offer the
best opportunities available in Wisconsin. There are also numerous
state parks available for camping along the way and this region
also offers the first chance to see spring migrants moving north
and the last chance to see fall migrants moving south.

The first four guides in the set were Lake Superior/Northwoods
in 2004, the Mississippi/Chippewa Rivers in 2005, the Lake Michigan
guide in 2006 and the Central Sands Prairies in 2007. In total, the
set of guidebooks list 368 waypoints. All guides are still
available in limited numbers. A CD that will contain all five
guides is currently in the works, and will be available for
purchase in 2009.

A public television documentary titled, “On the Trail: an In
Wisconsin Special” produced by WHA-TV is scheduled for statewide
broadcast March 12 at 7 p.m.. Film crews visited many of the sites
along the five trail segments over the past three years filming the
attractions and talking to local businesses, governments and
citizens who have been involved in developing the trail. Segments
of the special will be available for viewing on the Wisconsin Public Television Web site,
under the link to In Wisconsin.

The major partners in developing the trail system are the
Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Tourism, the
Natural Resources Foundation, the Wisconsin Coastal Management
Program, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Bird
Conservation Initiative.


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