Waukesha County comprises some 550 square miles in southeastern Wisconsin: south of Dodge and Washington Counties, north of Walworth and Racine Counties and east of the farmlands of Jefferson County. While adjacent to heavily populated Milwaukee County, Waukesha County still retains a strong rural flavor.
Waukesha County boasts many beautiful open spaces and trails:
● Kettle Moraine State Forest
● Lapham Peak State Park
● Vernon Marsh State Wildlife Area
● National Ice Age Trail
● Retzer Nature Center
County parks include Fox Brook, Menomonee, Minooka, Mukwonago, Muskego, Delafield (Naga-Waukee) and Nashotah.
Lakes and Rivers
Watershed areas in Waukesha County are comprised of the Rock River in the west and the Fox River in the East. Rivers include Ashippun, Bark, Fox, Menomonee, Oconomowoc and Scuppernong.
Waukesha County is home to 118 lakes, making up over 23 square miles. Northwestern Waukesha County lakes:
● Lac La Belle
● Pine Lake
● Nagawicka Lake
● Upper and Lower Nashotah
● Upper and Lower Nemahbin
Conservancy properties are in the area of Pine and Cornell (Mud) Lakes and portions of Beaver Lake and North Lake. Pine Lake is the main artery of the area, and while less than 2.5 miles long and no greater than a mile long, the spring-fed lake boasts an average depth of almost 40 feet and descends to nearly 90 feet. Fish include a plentiful amount of largemouth and smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Northern and Walleye.
The area’s ecosystem has undergone substantial transformation in the last 150 years. Historically, the area was a blend of oak savanna/prairie and oak-hickory forest with some maple, black cherry, basswood and white ash. Today, the native prairie has been removed, although there have been some attempts to re-establish it.
The oak savanna has either been removed for farming and pasture or has overgrown and reverted to forest. Some of the wide spreading open grown oaks can still be found.
The oak-hickory forest has been invaded by buckthorn, honeysuckle, Norway maple and garlic mustard. The periodic fires that maintained the prairie also burned these forests and had prevented the large shrub layer now found under trees.
Todays forest mixes naturally occurring species, planted trees and escaped exotics. The Norway spruce and pine plantations have melted into the landscape. Buckthorn is found everywhere that isn’t mowed, paved or water-covered — except where landowners have taken on the job of removing brush.
Native Tree Species:
● Black Cherry
● Black Walnut
● Elm – American, Slippery, Red
● Hickory — Shagbark, Bitternut
● Maple – Sugar, Red, Silver, Boxelder
● Oak – Red, White, Burr, Black
● Red Cedar
● White Pine (relic stand)
The area is home to many kinds of birds, waterfowl and other animals, With the eco-system and predatory structure disturbed, deer populations remain problematic at times.