Photo essay: Some wetlands of Wisconsin, USA

Photo essay: Some wetlands of Wisconsin, USA

2 December 2000

Horicon Marsh (12,912 hectares, designated 4 December 1990), one of only 17 Wetlands of International Importance in the United States, lies in the southeast quadrant of the north-midwestern state (or province) of the United States (USA).

But the State of Wisconsin is in fact ex-glacially endowed with many superb wetlands, particularly in the northern part of the state, where many of the so-called "flowages" have been described as potentially of international importance if relevant studies were to be carried out there.

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The depredations of the late 19th century timber industry in Wisconsin removed approximately 100.00% of the old forest, but left behind some very nice old railroad lines, which (following the crash of the timber industry for lack of any more trees) have been turned into exceptionally fine bicycle paths.

The Bearskin Trail plunges flatly along a raised former-railroad embankment through about 30km of excellent wetland habitat  just south of the summer resort island town of Minocqua in north central Wisconsin, and the state's enlightened Department of Natural Resources has spotted observation decks like this one along the way (photographed August 2000, just after the Québec 2000 Millennium Wetland Event).

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Place yourself here on a warm summer afternoon. Ignore the fact that there are no mountains anywhere.

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Who knows what bizarre forms of life are swirling about and attacking one another beneath those placid waters. (Personnel of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the state Department of Natural Resources probably know very well what forms of life swirl about there, but poets obey different rhythms.)

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A treasured portrait of the photographer's borrowed VTT bicycle.

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The view westward towards Minnesota, over several Native American reservations.

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And northwest towards the Boundary Waters.

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The wetland photographer himself.

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Another. (Photo: D. Peck, Ramsar)

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Another. (Photo: D. Peck, Ramsar)

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Another. (Photo: D. Peck, Ramsar)

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Another. (Photo: D. Peck, Ramsar)

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Collecting melaleuca wood, northern Wisconsin. . . .

No, wait!