Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area

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Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area
Gibraltar Rock.JPG
Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area is located in Wisconsin
Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area
Type Public, State
Location Lodi, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°20′56″N 89°36′02″W / 43.348929°N 89.600484°W / 43.348929; -89.600484Coordinates: 43°20′56″N 89°36′02″W / 43.348929°N 89.600484°W / 43.348929; -89.600484
Area 68 acres (28 ha)
Created 1969
Operated by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Visitors 73[1]
A winter photo of a leather leaf bog from Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area in Wisconsin.

Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area is a natural area in southern Wisconsin, United States,[2] which is 68 acres (28 ha) in size, and is located along the 1,000-mile (1,600 km) long Ice Age Trail.

Location[edit]

Located in Columbia County, Wisconsin, Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area is 68 acres (28 ha) in size.[1] The Wisconsin River Valley and Lake Wisconsin are located within view of the higher-elevation points in the natural area.[1] The Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area is located along the Ice Age Trail, which is a thousand miles long.[3] It is located 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the intersection of Highway 113 and County Highway V in the town of West Point.[4][5] Wisconsin County Road V runs past the area, with a parking lot located off the road that allows access to it. From there, a walking trail leads off to gain access to Gibraltar Rock.[3]

History[edit]

Early on, the Van Ness family owned the land and had a house on the property.[3] Other early families living in the area includes the Richmond family.[4] During the 1920s, Wisconsin landscape architect Jens Jensen started efforts to protect the area. Forming a group at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1920, the group was able to acquire the land in 1927.[4] They named the area Richmond Park.[4] The Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area became a Wisconsin-designated natural area in 1969. It was originally owned by the county until 2007,[6] when they transferred ownership to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).[1][4] A celebration was held following the transfer of ownership.[3]

Background[edit]

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages the Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area.[3] Howard Van Ness made several paintings depicting the area prior to its designation as a state natural area.[3] Friends of Gibraltar Rock exists and does "biological indexing of the flora and fauna in the area."[3] The views from the natural area are a major tourist draw.[4] The 1.4-mile (2.3 km) track for the area does not have wheelchair access.[4] People are not allowed to climb the rocks in the park, though this has not always been the case.[4]

Geology[edit]

The natural area is located on the outer part of the Magnesian Escarpment[1]/Black River Escarpment,[7] with the soil for the area being glaciated sandy loams, which sit on top of the Galena-Platteville dolomite cap and St. Peter sandstone.[1] Inside the natural area is a 200-foot (61 m) tall flat-topped butte called "Gibraltar Rock."[1][8] It sits 1,246 feet (380 m) above sea level and is the highest point in Columbia Country.[3] There is a 0.75-mile (1.2 km) long trail leading up to the Rock.[3]

Wildlife and fauna[edit]

Cliff goldenrod, columbine, ferns, pale corydalis[disambiguation needed] and red cedar, little blue-stem, side oats grama, prairie drop-seed, blue-eyed grass, bird's foot violet, bergamot, pasque flower, leadplant, aster, whorled milkweed, and prairie smoke are located within the natural area.[1]

References[edit]