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Research Natural Area

Camp Nine Pines

[photo:] An area of pine forest following a storm and subsequent salvage logging and prescription fire. Photo by Steven Spickerman, US Forest Service.State: Wisconsin

County: Bayfield

Forest: Chequamegon

District: Washburn

Established: 2014

Acres: 872 acres

Description: Camp Nine Pines Research Natural Area (RNA) contains one of the largest blocks of natural red pine (Pinus resinosa) and white pine (Pinus strobus) on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF). The RNA features a large area of continuous canopy pine and pine-oak forest, frost pocket barrens, a wide moisture gradient from west to east, and a home range of many large mammal species. The trees now are of an older age class [12-20 inch (30-50 cm) DBH] and the community is beginning to develop old-growth characteristics. The site is also noted for its diversity of nesting interior forest wood warblers.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions:

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA: The Drummond Ranger Station is 11 mi (17.7 km) northwest of the RNA.

Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution):  Annual precipitation averages 34.3 inches (87 cm), 68% of which falls between April and September. Average seasonal snowfall is 68.1 inches (173 cm).

Maximum and minimum temperatures:  Daily summertime temperatures average 58.6° F; average daily maximum temperatures average 52.6° F. Average temperature in the winter is 24.6° F; average daily minimum temperatures average 30.6° F.

Elevation:  Elevations range from 1,150 feet (351 m) to 1,340 feet (408 m) MSL.

Geology and Soils: The eastern section of the RNA is situated on glacial end moraine grading into glacial pitted outwash as you travel west. The majority of the RNA is carbonate bedrock of the Cable Rolling Outwash LTA.  The bedrock is greater than 100 feet from the land surface. A smaller portion of the RNA consists of sandstone (LTA Ka04), which is between 100 and 50 feet of the land surface. Geomorphologic processes include glacial meltwater deposition.

Soils are well-drained sandy loam over medium-coarse sand with end moraine on the east, grading into glacial pitted outwash as you move west. Most of the soils generally fall into the Vilas-Omega association. There is a small area that is of the Cloquet-Hiawatha association.

Aquatic Features:  Several small perennial ponds and ephemeral woodland pools occur in the depressions throughout this site. The ponds are the sole water source in this dry community type and are fed by ground water and precipitation. There are no streams or rivers within three miles (5 kilometers) of this site.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Section: 212X Northern Highland and 212K Western Superior Uplands

Subsection(s): Hayward Stagnation Moraines (212Xf) and Bayfield Sand Plains (212Ka)

Landtype Association(s): Cable Rolling Outwash (Xf01) and Bayfield Rolling Outwash Barrens (Ka04)

Plant Communities:

Community Type
Kotar Habitat
US National
Vegetation Classification
Northern dry-mesic forest AVVib red oak, white pine, red maple Pinus strobus - Populus tremuloides - (Acer rubrum) / Pteridium aquilinum Forest CEGL005563
Northern dry mesic forest PMV white pine, red pine Pinus strobus - (Pinus resinosa) - Quercus rubra Forest CEGL002480
Northern sedge meadow
small areas
  Carex stricta, Carex oligosperma, forbs Carex stricta - Carex spp. Herbaceous Vegetation CEGL002258 or Calamagrostis canadensis - Eupatorium maculatum Herbaceous Vegetation CEGL005174
Bracken grassland   bracken fern, grasses, forbs Pinus strobus - Populus tremuloides - (Acer rubrum) / Pteridium aquilinum Forest CEGL005563
these are small frost pockets within this association


Common Fauna: Red squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus; white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginiana; black bear, Ursus americanus; beaver, Castor Canadensis; badger, Taxidea taxus; coyote, Canis latrans; eastern timber wolf, Canis lupus; American toad, Bufo americanus; chorus frog, Pseudacris triseriata; wood frog, Rana sylvatica; four-toed salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum; painted turtle, Chrysemys picta; eastern garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis.

Common Shrub Species: In open bracken-grasslands, low blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium and sweet fern, Comptonia peregrina dominate with nearly complete coverage. Relatively undisturbed forested areas have sparse shrub components characterized by beaked hazelnut Corylus cornuta, American hazelnut Corylus americana, and American fly-honeysuckle Lonicera canadensis.

Common Herbaceous Species: Forested areas includes wood anemone Anemone quinquefolia, red baneberry Actaea rubra, cinnamon fern Osmunda cinnamomea, rough-leaved rice-grass Oryzopsis asperifolia, round-lobed hepatica Anemone americana, and blunt-leaf orchid Habenaria obtusata. Open areas include harebell Campanula rotundifolia, smooth aster Aster laevis, big blue-stem Andropogon gerardii, and poverty oats Danthonia spicata.

Complete Plant List:  Camp Nine Pines RNA plant List

Potential Research Topics: Camp Nine Pines RNA contains an ecosystem that was historically maintained by fire.  Researchers could investigate local fire history and effects of fire in a rare barrens ecosystem adjacent to a dry-mesic forest.  Surveys of taxa not yet recorded include amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, bats, and other mammals.

Related Website:

Camp Nine Pines State Natural Areas Program 

Related Reports and Publications:

Brzeskiewicz, Marjory.  2013.  Establishment Record for Camp Nine Pines Research Natural Area.  Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Washburn District, Bayfield County, Wisconsin.   39 pp.

Curtis, J. T. 1959. Vegetation of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison WI.
Fields, D.M.  1997.  Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Research Natural Area Evaluation Report: Bear Creek.  Unpublished Forest Service report on file in Park Falls Headquarters.

Danz, N.P.; Bracey, A.; Niemi, G.J. 2008. Breeding bird monitoring in Great Lakes National Forests 1991-2007. NRRI Technical Report NRRI/TR-2008/11, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN.

Duvall, Matthew D. 1997. Effects of timber harvesting on the distribution of coarse woody debris in red pine forests of the western Great Lakes region. A master of science thesis – University of Minnesota, St. Paul. 225 pp.

Duvall, Matthew D.; Grigal, D.F. 1999. Effects of timber harvesting on coarse woody debris in red pine forests across the Great Lakes states, U.S.A. Can J. For. Res. 29: 1926-1934.

Kotar, J.; Kovach, J.; Burger, T.  2002.  A Guide to Forest Communities and Habitats of Northern Wisconsin (2nd edition).  Madison: University of Wisconsin, Department of Forest Ecology and Management.

NGDC. National Geographic Data Committee. 2012. National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS). Available online: Accessed 2012.

Last Modified: February 23, 2017