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The Driftless Area

Most people don't know anything about the Driftless Area; they have never heard of it. But the story is rather interesting.

Glaciers avoided the area of Southwest Wisconsin, along with extreme Northwest Illinois, Northeast Iowa and Southeast Minnesota. Since the glaciers did not pulverize the area, it is like a little island of undisturbed topography in the middle of the primarily flat and scoured landscape of the Midwest.

This land-locked island is quite unique; filled with caves, cold-water springs, sinkholes and beautiful land formations. As a result, it is a unique biological area, with plants, insects, reptiles and mammals that are not normally seen in other areas of the Midwest.

Why is it called "Driftless"? Glaciers grind and pulverize the landscape on their slow move towards their destination, and along the way they pick up various sizes of fine sand and soil, up to small rocks and large boulders. As the glaciers melt, they leave this material, called "Glacial Drift". These are geological materials that traveled, or "drifted", from somewhere else and were deposited where the glacier left them. The Driftless Area has none of this "drift".... hence "driftless".  The geological materials in the Driftless area are the same materials that have been there for millions of years, only being eroded by the wind and water.

Glaciers avoided the Driftless Area, so did not flatten and scour the land.

Driftless Glaciation.png
Wisconsin Topo Map with CWD Location.png

Clearwater Dells is located on the edge of the Driftless Area in the Black River Watershed

Glaciers avoided the Driftless Area, so did not flatten and scour the land.

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