Protecting Door County’s Exceptional Lands and Waters Forever

The Door County Land Trust is a completely local, non-governmental, non-profit membership organization whose mission is to permanently protect lands that contribute significantly to the scenic beauty, open space and ecological integrity of Door County.

In order to accomplish this mission, we use a variety of methods. We accept donations of land or conservation easements, we strategically purchase critical habitat, and we manage the lands we own to improve or maintain high-quality, healthy habitat. Door County Land Trust nature preserves are open to the public for nature-based recreational activities.

Since 1986, the Door County Land Trust has protected over 6,500 acres from Washington Island through southern Door County and many points in between.

What type of lands do we protect?

  • Natural areas including forests and wetlands that are home to wildlife and rare plants and animals.
  • Undeveloped shoreline on the peninsula and islands.
  • Scenic open space along highways and rural roads including old fields, meadows, farms and orchards.

How do we protect land?

  • We enter into conservation easement agreements with private landowners. The landowners retain ownership of the land while the type and amount of future development is permanently restricted.
  • We accept donations of land that possess high quality habitat or significant open space value.
  • We identify and selectively purchase from willing landowners those properties in Door County that possess exceptional scenic beauty and ecological significance.
  • We manage the lands we own as nature preserves to maintain or enhance the natural systems and wildlife habitat.
  • We seek private monetary donations, secure state and federal grants, and forge cooperative partnerships with other conservation organizations and local units of government to accomplish our land protection mission.

How does our work benefit the community?

  • By preserving Door County’s open spaces and natural areas, the Door County Land Trust is sustaining the quality of life enjoyed by residents and protecting the scenic beauty which attracts visitors to Door County.
  • Lands protected by the Door County Land Trust provide quality habitat for Door County’s rare and unique wildlife and help to purify our surface and drinking water resources.
  • Lands owned by the Door County Land Trust are open to the public for recreation, education and scientific research.
  • By providing land protection resources and options for Door County landowners, we help to ensure the lands we all love remain in a scenic and natural state for generations to come.
  • Many of the lands protected by the Door County Land Trust stay in private ownership and remain on the property tax roll.

How are we funded?

  • The majority of our operating budget comes from individuals and families who make an annual membership contribution.  Find out how you can Become a Member.
  • The Door County Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.  Every penny stays in Door County, preserving the lands we love.
  • The Door County Land Trust applies for and receives grants from state and federal organizations including the Knowles Nelson State Stewardship Fund and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

What is a land trust?

A land trust is a nonprofit, community-based organization that actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting with direct land transactions—primarily the purchase or acceptance of donations of land or conservation easements.

The Door County Land Trust is one of the more than 1,700 local and regional land trusts across the nation and a growing number of land trusts operating outside the U.S.