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Chequamegon Moraines and Outwash Plain

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About the Chequamegon Moraines and Outwash Plain

The Chequamegon Moraines and Outwash Plain is a region in northwest Wisconsin.

This region consists of irregular plains and hummocky terrain, including stagnation moraine and pitted outwash plains. Overall drainage is poor, having been disrupted by glaciation, and there are numerous swamps, bogs, and small lakes. Soils here tend to be relatively coarse, ranging from loam to sandy loam, and tend to be acidic, which contributes to wetlands becoming bogs or peatlands rather than more neutral, mineral-rich wetlands.

This region was probably originally mostly covered in northern mesic forest, with the dominant species being sugar maple (Acer saccharum), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), along with some American basswood (Tilia americana) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis).

This region has been extensively logged, and the forests here are mostly second-growth. The region is still almost exclusively forested, but the composition has changed somewhat. Both hemlock and white pine have been reduced, and yellow birch has also been somewhat reduced, whereas various early-successional species have become more common. There are large areas of public, protected land here, including extensive forest at Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, and also some smaller preserves including the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary and the Lac Courte Oreilles State Wildlife Management Area. Damming has created some large lakes that did not originally exist here, including the large Lake Chippewa, created by the Winter Dam, and some smaller lakes including the Red Cedar Lake and Hemlock Lake Reservoir, and Long Lake in Washburn County.

This area is mostly sparsely populated; the largest settlement is Spooner, followed by Hayward, and there are a few even smaller towns. This region is primarily used for forestry and recreation, including hunting, fishing, camping, and boating. There is some residential and vacation development around the lakes.

This region borders many different regions. To the northwest, this region borders the St. Croix Pine Barrens, a fire-prone region with coarser, more drought-prone soils. The northernmost part of this region borders the Superior Mineral Ranges to the north, and east of that, the Winegar Dead Ice Moraine to the north. There is a small border to the east with the Northern Wisconsin Highlands Lakes Country. Most of the region is bordered to the south by the Chippewa Lobe Rocky Ground Moraines, a region with finer-textured soils and fewer lakes. In the southwest end of this region, there is a border to the southeast with the Blue Hills, which consists of terminal moraines, and a smaller border to the southwest with the largely-agricultural Central Wisconsin Undulating Till Plain. North of that there is a larger border to the southwest by the St. Croix Stagnation Moraines, a region that is geologically similar to this one, but with a warmer climate; this border arbitrary and not well-defined.