Van Loon Wildlife Area

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Van Loon Wildlife Area is a 3,918-acre of natural property located in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Van Loon Wildlife was originated in 1948 as a lease project. Van Loon consists of many habitual areas for many of the species living in the area. [1] The wildlife area is located in the wetlands region of the Black River delta that confluenced with the Mississippi River.[2]

Van Loon Wildlife Area McGilvary Bridge. Source: insertcreatorinfo

Environmental Areas

Van Loon is known for having three main types of habitual areas. The floodplain forest, sand prairies, and oak savanna. The area is known for providing waterfowl fishing and hunting and upland game and deer. [3] Many parts of the environment are collided between the three types of land. But the floodplain forest is one of the major environmental areas where wildlife tend to be located.

Wildlife Species

Van Loon Wildlife Area has become a habitat to many species. Van Loon is known to be a home to many species of birds around the area. Around 100 species of the area is known for Yellow-crowned night-herons, Acadian flycatchers, cerulean warblers, and prothonotary warblers that breed there. Other birds are pileated woodpecker, wood duck, green heron, red-headed woodpecker, bald eagle, eastern wood-pewee, yellow-throated vireo, blue gray gnatcatcher, ovenbird, American redstart, and indigo bunting. All of these birds are under the WBCI protection. [4] Many of these birds come to Van Loon Wildlife Area to either mate or pass through for migration. Visitors must know the importance of respect for the wildlife and feel the importance of wildlife needed in our lives. Thus, Van Loon is a wildlife area willing to demonstrate the wonders and beauty of true wildlife.

WBCI Important Bird Area

Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) is a partnership made up of more than 175 organizations around the state that was initiated in 2001. These organizations consist of bird clubs, hunting and fishing groups, government agencies, land trusts, nature centers, environmental groups, universities, and businesses. The goal that all these organizations plan to obtain is to protect and conserve the endangerment of rare species of birds. Another goal of the WBCI is to educate its Wisconsin citizens about the importance of the bird species and opening of the enjoyment of birds we have today. [5]


Activites are a key component to the opening of nature and human connection. At Van Loon Wildlife Area, there is a quantity of diverse activities to be a part of. Hiking is very popular for visitors as their senses can be stimulated by the natural environment. Another great way to view this wildlife area is to kayak or canoe on the river. [6] Camping is also an option given by the Wildlife area through their website. Fishing, trapping, and hunting are activities allowed in this area, but they can be specified and limited based on the season. Licenses are also required for hunting, trapping, and fishing in this area. Van Loon Wildlife Area is also pet friendly with the encouragement of the owners to clean up after their pets. Dogs must be leashed during the time period of April 15 through July 31. [7]

McGilvary Road (7 Bridges Trail)

The McGilvary Roads, also known as the 7 Bridges, is a construction of two popular types of bridges in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The area was formerly a County Road which is composed of the unique combination of five bowstring arch truss bridges and one low truss bridge adopted from Pierce County.[8] Because of their construction these bridges are not ideal for the traffic requirements. This is because many of these older modeled bridges to be less sturdy or fit to become beneficial for today’s industrial world, causing these bridges to become demolished. As an outcome, these bridges on the McGilvray Road are now only for pedestrian use. In 1989, due to the state of Wisconsin’s choice to demolish these bridges, the Friends of McGilvray was created to fight against the demolishment of the bridges. Over time and expenses the Friends of McGilvray Road saved the 7 Bridges from demolition. [9]


  1. ”Van Loon Wildlife Area,”, Accessed 2017, Feb. 20, URL
  2. ”Van Loon Wildlife Area,” Mississippi River.National Geographic Tourism, Accessed 2018, April 25, URL
  3. ”Welcome to McGilvary Road and its Historical Bridges,” 7bridgesr, Accessed 2018, April 25, URL
  4. ”Van Loon Wildlife Area,” Van Loon Wildlife Area, Accessed 2017, Feb. 20, URL
  5. ”Background,” Wisconsin Birds, Accessed 2018, May 1, URL
  6. ”Van Loon floodplain Savana,” wisconsinstatenaturalareas, Accessed 2016, July 22, URL
  7. ”Van Loon Wildlife Area,” mississippiriver.natgeotourism, Accessed 2018, April 25, URL
  8. ”Van Loon Wildlife Area/Mcgilvray Road,” travelwisconsin, Accessed 2018, April 25, URL
  9. ”Welcome to McGilvary Road and its Historical Bridges,” 7bridgesr, Accessed 2018, April 25, URL

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