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The Prairie Enthusiasts (Empire-Sauk Chapter) Field Trip: Cross Plains State Park
September 8, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am
This fascinating site is part of a 750-acre complex of federal, state and county protected land managed in part by the Ice Age Trail Alliance. It contains a beautiful restored prairie/oak savanna with blufftop views typical of the area, but the major attraction is the dramatic Wilkie Gorge, carved as a drainage channel at the terminal moraine edge of the glaciers. David Mikelson, Emeritus Professor, Geology & Geophysics at UW-Madison and co-author of Geology of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail will join us to discuss and answer questions about the fascinating glacial geology of this site at the very border of the Driftless Area. Wilkie Gorge formed a fire shadow, creating a very rare (for Dane County) small island of probable pre-settlement southern mesic (maple/basswood) forest sharply separated from and adjacent to the prairie/oak savanna. We will directly compare and contrast the two plant communities, and clearly see the effects of fire at a landscape level. The field trip will provide a great opportunity to learn about the both the glacial geology of our area and its effects on the local plant community structure.
Trip Leader: Scott Fulton, 608-345-8297 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions: Cross Plains State Park is located approximately 3 miles west of Middleton, just south of US 14. Head south on Cleveland Road until it tees with Old Sauk Pass. Take a right, and then go west approximately ¼ mile until you reach the park kiosks at the old Wilkie Farm (8075 Old Sauk Pass Road). Park along the road.