The Area We Preserve
The Baraboo Range is a unique example of an exhumed mountain range which is composed of Precambrian Quartzite. The range covers 144,000 acres in Sauk and Columbia Counties. It stands as high as 800 feet above the Wisconsin River and is one of the most ancient rock outcrops in North America. The Baraboo Range includes 55,000 acres of forest. This is the largest tract of mostly unfragmented deciduous forest remaining in the upper Midwest.
The differences in elevation, exposure, and soils of the Baraboo Hills create a variety of ecological habitats including high, dry rock strata where white pine predominates; rocky cliffs covered with lichens and mosses; cool steep valleys and ravines of hemlock; dry and wet prairie, and marshes. At least 28 different natural communities have been identified. This ecoregion is home to over 1,800 species of plants and animals, including 135 species of breed birds. Of these plant and animal species 77 of them are rare or imperiled in the state and 23 are on the state or federal lists of threatened or endangered species.
One section of the South Range is widely know for its special natural beauty. The state's second state park -Devil's Lake - was created in 1911 to preserve the unique area where the pre-glacial Wisconsin River cut through the bluffs leaving a deep gorge surrounded by cliffs of quartzite. A second state park in the range is Natural Bridge State Park. This small park with its natural sandstone bridge contains evidence of having been a campsite for prehistoric humans at the time of the glaciers.
Humans have lived and been a part of this eco-system for hundreds of years.
The Baraboo Range Preservation Association (BRPA) will be the leading local organization dedicated to protecting the Baraboo Range. Our membership will consist of people with passion for the Baraboo Range and its natural and aesthetic resources, and cultural traditions.
By its work, BRPA will preserve for future generations irreplaceable scenery, unique geology, healthy plant and animal habitat, and a rich tradition of land stewardship cultivated by generations of local landowners and conservationists.