Places We Protect
Since 1986, the Door County Land Trust has protected over 6,500
acres in almost every corner of Door County. From the northern tip of
Washington Island south to the Door-Kewaunee county line, the lands we
preserve represent the finest open spaces and wild places Door County
has to offer.
In recent years, our land protection efforts have been focused on the
protection of specific sites throughout the county that have been
identified for their ecological importance and scenic beauty.
These "Special Places", as we refer to them, showcase the best
of Door County’s diverse and inspiring natural landscapes. From small
nature sanctuaries hidden within our villages, to miles of scenic open
space along our rural roadways, to thousands of acres of critical
wildlife habitat, these places represent Door County’s irreplaceable
These are the places the Door County Land Trust is committed to
protecting through a variety of strategies including purchase,
acceptance of donations of land or conservation easement agreements, and
partnering with other conservation groups.
While the majority of our efforts are aimed at protecting the lands
within these Special Places, we also partner with landowners
in other parts of Door County to protect properties that have
significant conservation and scenic value. Visit the
Protect Your Land section of this
website for more information about how we work with individual
The following Special Places were identified through a variety
of efforts and in partnership with other conservation groups, including,
The Nature Conservancy, the Ridges Sanctuary, the Wisconsin Department
of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While the
Land Trust has begun work at every one of these Special Places, some
projects are further along than others. A few are nearing completion
with significant acreage already under permanent protection while others
are just beginning. Keep up to date on our latest successes by reading
about our Recent Projects.
Please Note: Not all of the places described below are owned and managed by the
Door County Land Trust.
Some protected lands remain under private ownership and are NOT
open to the public.
Please see the Visit our Preserves
section of this website
for information about Door County Land Trust Preserves,
opportunities for outdoor recreation on lands open to the
public, and to print trail maps and directions.
The Door County Land Trust's Special Places
1. White Cliff Fen
and Forest Preserve
Village of Egg Harbor and Town of Gibraltar: Along bucolic White Cliff
Road, the high bluffs of the Niagara Escarpment provide a stunning
backdrop to a unique 30-acre wetland that is surrounded by old growth
2. Ephraim Preserve at Anderson Pond
Village of Ephraim: A serene wetland complex surrounded by an ancient
beach ridge and wooded bluffs provides a sanctuary for wildlife and
people in the heart of Ephraim.
3. Bay Shore Blufflands Preserve
Towns of Egg Harbor and Sevastopol: The scenic bluffs overlooking the
sparkling waters of Green Bay provide the backdrop to one of Wisconsin’s
beautiful nature preserves.
4. Kellner Fen Preserve
Town of Sturgeon Bay: Just inland from the shores of Lake Michigan, the
Kellner Fen Preserve is a magical wetland of floating sedge mats providing
undisturbed refuge to a host of rare plants, animals and migrating
5. Oak Road Wetland Preserve
Egg Harbor Township: Large open wetlands surrounded by farm and forest
provide ideal habitat for a diversity of waterfowl including Sandhill
cranes, wood duck and trumpeter swan.
6. Detroit Harbor Preserve
Washington and Detroit Islands: Lying along the pristine shores of
Washington and Detroit Islands, this preserve is home to rare plants and
animals, productive spring-fed wetlands and critical Smallmouth Bass
7. Little Lake Preserve
Washington Island: 250 feet of cobblestone ridge is the only thing that
separates Lake Michigan from Little Lake. Washington Island’s only
inland lake provides habitat for rare plants such as the dwarf lake iris
and showy-lady’s slipper orchid and is home to an historic Native
American village and burial ground.
8. Lautenbach Woods Preserve
Town of Egg Harbor: On and below this undeveloped stretch of Niagara
Escarpment is found a diverse ecosystem of forest, hardwood swamp, and
one of the area’s largest cave systems.
9. Southern Shores
Township of Clay Banks: Historic farmland and red clay bluffs overlook
thousands of feet of wild Lake Michigan shore and provide travelers
along County Highway U and S. Lake Michigan Drive with magnificent rural
10. Hibbards Creek Preserve
Town of Jacksonport: The crystal-clear water of Hibbards Creek winds its
way through some of County Highway A’s most scenic vistas.
11. Picha Woods Preserve at Thorp Pond
Town of Egg Harbor: Thorp Pond is a circular, peat bottom, spring-fed
pond surrounded by large stands of upland hardwoods. It provides ideal
habitat for many species of migratory songbirds.
12. Kangaroo Lake Preserve
Town of Baileys Harbor: Situated on the north end of Kangaroo Lake where
Peil Creek empties its spring-fed waters, this preserve is a splendid mix
of forest, escarpment and wetlands and provides habitat for waterfowl
outstanding scenery and many recreational opportunities.
13. Porte des Mort Forest Preserve
Town of Liberty Grove: Old growth stands of hemlock and hardwoods give
way to the rugged shoreline bluffs overlooking the waters of “Death’s
Door.” The preserve also protects a scenic stretch of Highway 42 near
the ferry terminal at Northport.
14. Brussels Hill and Kayes Creek Preserve
Brussels and Gardner Townships: Deep ravines, rocky outcrops, stately
forests, scenic overlooks, and large wetlands mark the Brussels Hill/Kayes
Creek Preserve in the heart of Southern Door.
15. Richter Community Forest
Washington Island: This 160-acre forest is a natural refuge for
islanders and visitors alike and an outdoor living classroom for
Washington Island’s school children and their teachers to explore.
16. Gilson-Peterson Forest
Town of Liberty Grove: This beautiful hemlock, white pine, and hardwood
forest hosts a wonderful understory of spring wildflowers and offers a
quiet place for visitors to enjoy the natural world.
17. Highway 57 Scenic Corridor
Towns of Baileys Harbor and Liberty Grove: Partnering with area property
owners, the Land Trust is working hard to preserve the rural character
and wildlife habitat along this stretch of highway between Baileys
Harbor and the Village of Sister Bay.
18. Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Property
City of Sturgeon Bay: South of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal along the
shores of Lake Michigan, hundreds of undeveloped acres of sand dunes,
ridge and swale, forest and wetlands offer a potential nature sanctuary
and recreation area near the city of Sturgeon Bay.
19. Woods at Monument Point
Town of Egg Harbor: Situated along the top of the Niagara Escarpment is
a place filled with lush ferns, dazzling spring wildflowers, and towering hemlock, maple and oak trees.
20. Harold C. Wilson
Three Springs Nature Preserve – Town of Liberty Grove: This 421-acre
property lies two miles east of Sister Bay and is a central part of one
of Wisconsin’s most impressive wildlife corridors. Fresh water springs
on this parcel form the headwaters of Three Springs Creek and the
federally endangered Hines Emerald Dragonfly, the Dwarf Lake Iris and
other rare plants and animals can also be found at this beautiful
21. Kreuter Preserve
– Town of Clay Banks: This 91-acre property hosts 3,000 feet of
pristine Lake Michigan shoreline as well as wind-swept fields and an
impressive cedar forest. On the western portions of this preserve a
steep bluff rises above the waters of Lake Michigan offering visitors
one of the most impressive views in all of Door County.
22. Coffey Swamp –
Washington Island: Coffey Swamp occupies a former embayment of Lake
Michigan along the northern coast of Washington Island. This natural
area features a shallow, hard water wetland and is surrounded by an
open, treeless, boreal-rich fen dominated by wire-leaved sedges, sweet
gale, and hoary willow. Adjoining the fen is a northern
white cedar forest
situated on ridges and swales.
23. Big and Little Marsh – Washington Island: Big and Little
Marsh features a complex of boreal rich fen, northern wet-mesic forest,
and a large aquatic marsh. Located on the east-central portions of
Washington Island, the site harbors numerous rare species. Of interest
is the sandy, cobble beach that harbors patches of the federally
threatened dwarf lake iris. An upland hardwood forest of white cedar and
hemlock surrounds the wetlands. Many birds funnel through this area
during spring and fall migrations and a diversity of neotropical
migrants breed here in summer.
24. Chambers Island – Town of Gibraltar: This wooded, largely
undeveloped island, located about 5 miles off the shores from Fish
Creek, is home to a mature hardwood and hemlock forest, a pristine,
inland lake, and miles and miles of Green Bay lakeshore. The Door
County Land Trust is working closely with the Chambers Island
Association to identify and protect the islands most critical tracts.
25. Ephraim Swamp to Baileys Harbor Swamp Corridor – Towns of
Gibraltar and Baileys Harbor: This large wildlife corridor runs from the
Village of Ephraim on Green Bay southeast to Baileys Harbor on the
shores of Lake Michigan. An impressive cedar forest, high-quality
wetlands, and stunning views from the top of the Niagara Escarpment are
a few features of this natural landscape.
Although we’ve enjoyed
many conservation successes and have recently surpassed 6,500 acres under
protection, there is still much work to do. We will continue
working to protect these Special Places, but we can’t do it without your help.
Please see Visit our Preserves
for information about Door County Land Trust Preserves,
opportunities for outdoor recreation on lands open to the public, and to
print trail maps and directions.
The Protect Your Land section
of our website explores options for local landowners who want to
plan for the future of their Door County property. You can
download our Guide to Land Protection Strategies here, too.
Or find out about all the ways to
Support Our Work.
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