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Take a Hike and Call Me in the Morning

Explore the Door hike outings with the Door County Land Trust and Ministry Door County Medical Center

Have you considered the health benefits of hiking? Community members have long known the joys of hiking the Land Trust nature preserves for their beauty, ecological integrity, and solitude. Now with a new partnership between the Door County Land Trust and Ministry Door County Medical Center, people will gain an understanding of how hiking can also improve one’s health.

Ministry Door County Medical Center physicians will be partnering with Door County Land Trust hike leaders to offer a series of hikes through 2015, called ‘Take a Hike and Call Me in the Morning.’ The series will focus on mental and physical well-being through a connection with nature. Each outing will offer an opportunity to learn about the natural wonders that surround us in Door County, with the additional benefit of health and lifestyle tips from Ministry physicians.

The first session of the ‘Take a Hike’ series will be held September 21, from 1-3 pm at the Land Trust’s Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve, located north of Sturgeon Bay at 5454 Bay Shore Drive. Join Ministry Door County Medical Center physician, Dr. Richard Hogan and Land Trust hike leader, Peter Sigmann, for a hike to explore this nature preserve while learning tips for exercise along the way. 

Dr. Hogan will share the benefits of hiking at any age, for physical and mental health—even lessening the risk of dementia. The pace of the hike will accommodate hikers of a moderate physical shape. Hikers looking for a more vigorous hike are invited to stay afterwards and hike any of the three trail loops at their own pace.

Door County Land Trust hike leader, Peter Sigmann will share information about the flora and fauna of the Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve, as well as offer guidance about hiking other Land Trust preserves. Complimentary copies of the Hiking Trails of the Door County Land Trust map will be offered to participants.

Participants should plan on a 90 minute hike, with several brief stops along the way. Bring a water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellant, and layered clothing. Please wear close-toed shoes and long pants, as there are areas of poison ivy and the trail terrain includes uphill and rocky areas. Plan on hiking, rain or shine, and bring a rain coat if necessary.

Register online for Take a Hike and Call Me in the Morning at Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve on September 21. Attendance is free. Registration is limited to 20 participants, and space will fill quickly, so please register early.


 

Explore the Door! Celebrate National Trails Day with the Door County Land Trust

Guided Hike at Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve

June 1 at 10 a.m. - Register Online

Celebrate National Trails Day on June 1 by hiking the Door County Land Trust’s Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve. Hikers will have the opportunity to learn from trained volunteer naturalists and are encouraged to bring binoculars and wear comfortable walking shoes. The guided hikes are offered at 10am.

The guided hikes will last approximately ninety minutes and cover about 1.25 miles of level-to-rocky terrain, with some inclines along portions of the bluff. To participate in the event, hikers are encouraged to register, although walk-ins are welcome. Registration for the guided hikes may be made through the Door County Land Trust’s Explore the Door hike program.  Register Online now. 

The Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve is located approximately five miles south of Egg Harbor at 6749 County Highway G. Located atop the Niagara Escarpment, the Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve presents visitors with a chance to see first-hand the fractures in the dolomite rock that underlies much of Door County. In the spring, when the ground thaws, water from higher elevations pours out the base of the escarpment on its way to Green Bay. This water creates a vernal pond, which is a favorite habitat for migrating waterfowl, salamanders, and spring peepers.

Hikers may also celebrate National Trails Day by taking self-guided hikes at any of the Door County Land Trust’s many nature preserves located throughout Door County. The preserves offer a variety of ecological treasures, including spring ephemeral wildflowers, songbirds, and other wildlife, as well as the scenic wonders of rock formations, sandy dunes, wetlands and shorelines.

Two resources are available to guide hikers on their adventures: A Guide to the Places We Protect, a 78-page book (retail $9.95) with detailed information on 13 nature preserves and many other protected places and Hiking Trails of the Door County Land Trust, a free fold-out Door County map with preserves, directions, and specific trail information. Both the map and guide are available through the Land Trust’s website or at the Land Trust offices.


Click to download Let's Hike!  App

Exploring Door County Just Got Easier:

Door County Land Trust Announces New Hiking Trails Phone App

Just in time to help combat cabin fever, the Door County Land Trust has unveiled its newly-created Android phone app, Let’s Hike! The new app features directions to and trail maps for thirteen of the Land Trust’s nature preserves from Little Lake on Washington Island in the north to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal and Legacy at Clay Banks preserves along Lake Michigan in the south. Door County Land Trust nature preserves are open to the public at no charge every day of the year for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and other low-impact recreational activities. Let’s Hike! is based on a fold-out map published by the Land Trust last summer.

“Door County is beautiful throughout the year—especially in the spring after a long, cold winter! The Land Trust has fabulous nature preserves to share and we’re thrilled to offer this new app to help people find them,” states Tim Stone, president of the Door County Land Trust board of directors. “It’s our hope that more people will discover and reconnect with Door County’s natural treasures and will join us in helping to protect them.”

The new Let’s Hike! app was designed by Door County Land Trust volunteer and former member of the Land Trust board of directors, Jim Kinney. “We’re excited to be using technology to help people get out and experience the real world,” states Land Trust Executive Director, Dan Burke.

Let’s Hike! may be downloaded at no charge on any Smartphone from the Google Play store by searching for “Door County.” An app for iPhones will also be designed in the near future. A hard copy of the “Hiking Trails of the Door County Land Trust” map may be requested on the Land Trust’s website, www.doorcountylandtrust.org , and will be mailed at no charge. The Land Trust thanks Ministry Door County Medical Center, the Raibrook Foundation and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin for help in underwriting the production of the map.

Download our Android phone app, Let’s Hike!


Door County Land Trust holds Successful Midwinter’s Feast by the FireFeast by the Fire 2013 - Photo by Julie Schartner

February 17, 2013- The Door County Land Trust hosted its 13th Annual Midwinter’s Feast by the Fire at Bjorklunden Lodge in Baileys Harbor to raise funds for land preservation and restoration in Door County.  Over 175 Land Trust supporters braved a wintry cold evening to warm themselves by the fire in the Great Hall, enjoying fine wine, appetizers and a fantastic feast with fellow supporters.  The event is made possible by contributions of local chefs and restaurants who donate their time to prepare a salad, entrée and dessert course.  Over 40 volunteers plan and staff the event. 

Kathy Wolff, events committee chair for the Land Trust, explains, “The Feast by the Fire is a much-anticipated social event, bringing together Land Trust friends in the dead of winter.  It’s an intimate and elegant event, but it always involves some fun and guests get to see the cheeky side of the Land Trust.”  Laurel Hauser and Dan Burke at the 2013 Feast by the Fire - Photo by Julie Schartner

Dan Burke, executive director,  and Laurel Hauser, director of charitable giving, prepared an Oscar Awards-style skit  to showcase significant achievements of the past year and to thank the Land Trust community. Highlights of 2012 included the preservation of over 800 acres and a total of 21 land protection deals—both record accomplishments for the organization.  The Land Trust celebrated the preservation of nearly 500 acres at Shivering Sands in the town of Sevastopol, the protection of the Grand View property in Ellison Bay, a large portion of the Camp Cuesta Girl Scout property at Kangaroo Lake in Baileys Harbor, and the creation of a new nature preserve at Heins Creek. The Land Trust also celebrated a year of making its nature preserves more user-friendly with new signage, the release of a hiking map and a 72-page “Guide to the Places We Protect.”

Patsy and Jodi Wuollett of Chop Steakhouse in Sister Bay provided their signature house salad with popovers and maple butter.  Randy Daubner, owner of the English Inn in Fish Creek, offered guests a choice of tender prime rib or artichoke ravioli. For dessert, pastry chef and caterer Mary Niedzwiecki prepared a Lemon-Raspberry Charlotte.  The chefs were introduced and thanked near the end of dinner and received overwhelming applause for their contributions.

The event is organized and planned entirely by volunteers.  Event chair Windsor McCutcheon and co-chair Kathy Blankenburg coordinated all aspects of the event, working with chefs, and coordinating volunteers. Fine wines were selected, poured and donated for the event by Ken and Mary Bussard, Tony and Cathy Fiorato, Karl and Lucy Klug and Ron and Judy Lokken.  Members of the board of directors worked alongside volunteers, serving wine and dinner to guests, and pitching in to clean up afterwards. 


Door County Land Trust Publishes a Guide Book to Over 6,500 acres of Protected Land

A Guide to the Places We Protect
December 11, 2012- The Door County Land Trust announces the release of a 78-page book entitled A Guide to the Places We Protect. This guide book features the over 6,500 acres that have been protected by the Door County Land Trust since its inception in 1986, most notably the over 30 public preserves owned and managed by the Land Trust.

In addition to detailed descriptions of each Land Trust nature preserve, this four-color guide book includes stunning photography, interesting cultural and scientific tidbits about Door County, and information on how the Land Trust protects, manages and restores many of Door County’s most important ecological and scenic treasures.

“This book is a celebration of Door County, its vast lakeshore, many islands and wild habitats. It is our hope that the reader will be left with a much greater appreciation for the places, people, plants and animals that call Door County home,” states Laurel Hauser, development director of the Door County Land Trust.

A Guide to the Places We Protect is available at the Door County Land Trust office (23 N. Fifth Avenue, Sturgeon Bay) for $9.95 or by mail for an additional $4.00. The guide books are also included with every purchase of a membership or gift membership to the Land Trust of $35 or more.

Information about the book and how copies may be obtained is available by calling the Land Trust office at 920-746-1359, or by info@doorcountylandtrust.org.  Plans are in the works to have the guide book available at retail outlets throughout the county in 2013.

The release of A Guide to the Places We Protect is preceded by this past summer’s release of the popular Hiking Trails of the Door County Land Trust map. Similar in style to a traditional road map, this fold-out piece features a detailed road map of Door County showing the locations of Land Trust Nature Preserves equipped with parking areas, nature trails and educational amenities. On the back side of the map, there are hiking trail maps for each nature preserve along with a detailed description of each hiking trail and what visitors might expect and see and experience on the trails.

“We’ve got absolutely beautiful nature preserves to share, each with trails and a parking area and each one different from the next. We’ve been working hard to get the preserves ready for the public over the past few years and we’re thrilled to have people visit and discover them,” states Tim Stone, president of the Door County Land Trust board of directors.
 

The Door County Land Trust thanks the Ferris Greeney Family Foundation for underwriting A Guide to the Places We Protect and Ministry Door County Medical Center, the Raibrook Foundation, and a C.D. Besadny Conservation grant from the Natural Resources Foundation for help in underwriting the production of the hiking trail map.

 


Door County Land Trust Announces Upcoming Washington Island Events

Guided Hike at Little Lake Nature Preserve Saturday, July 21;
Washington Island Folk Festival: Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21

The Door County Land Trust invites the public to a guided hike of its northernmost nature preserve, the Little Lake Nature Preserve on Washington Island.

The centerpiece of the 33-acre nature preserve is Little Lake itself. Little Lake, the island’s only inland lake, was created thousands of years ago when waves washed gravel and cobblestones across a shallow bay of glacial Lake Nippising (now Lake Michigan.) As the glacial waters receded, a narrow ridge was formed to create Little Lake. The narrow ridge provides a stunning view of Lake Michigan to the west and Little Lake to the east.

Little Lake is surrounded by stands of white cedar, hemlock and a floating bog mat and provides habitat for nesting and foraging waterfowl and songbirds including bald eagles, white pelicans, osprey, herons and black-throated blue warblers.

The Little Lake area was once home to a large village of Native Americans. Numerous artifacts dating back 3,000 years have been found here and some may be viewed at nearby Jens Jacobsen Museum. The preserve was also once home to one of America’s most famous economists, Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929.) Veblen wrote “The Theory of the Leisure Class.” He purchased property on the west side of Little Lake in 1915 for use as a summer retreat. Exposed rock marks the spot where Veblen’s study cabin stood until it was recently moved to the grounds of the Jens Jacobsen Museum by the Island Heritage Conservancy.

The hike will depart at 1:00 p.m. from the trail head located at 2300 Main Road. From the ferry dock, take Lobdell Point Road (County W) to Main Road. Turn left and continue on Main Road. The trailhead is located at 2300 Main Road 1.2 miles past the intersection of Main Road and Jackson Harbor Road. Park along the side of the road. The hike is easy –to-moderate on even-to-rocky terrain. Hikes will be held rain or shine. Please wear sturdy footwear and bring a water bottle.

The 10th Annual Washington Island Folk Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings, July 20 and 21. Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. talented local musicians and storytellers offer crowd-pleasing, 60s-era folk music at the Red Barn Theatre. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children. On Saturday night at 7:30 pm, the inimitable acoustic guitarist, Willy Porter, performs at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for adults/$5 for children. No advance ticket sales. Proceeds from the Folk Fest benefit the Door County Land Trust.

The Door County Land Trust is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Door County’s finest open spaces and wild places. The Land Trust maintains numerous preserves located throughout Door County that are open to the public at no charge. Most of these nature preserves are available for hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, photography, nature study, fishing, hunting and other low-impact recreational uses.


Rutabaga Paddlesports Raises Funds For Door County Land Trust at Door County Sea Kayak Symposium

The 9th Annual Door County Sea Kayak Symposium splashes down in Rowleys Bay on July 13-15, 2012.   With some of the finest instructors from all over the country, guided day trips to many of the County’s most spectacular bays, it’s no wonder the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium has become a Peninsula favorite.

Presented by Rutabaga Paddlesports, the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium will be held at Rowleys Bay Resort (formerly the Wagon Trail). The Symposium features on-the-water classes for all skill levels, on-land workshops, guided tours, special youth programs, and tracks especially designed for brand-new paddlers.  The camaraderie of fellow paddlers, the opportunity to share dinner (and yes, happy hour) under a big top tent each night, and the chance to “test drive” the latest kayaks and gear from some of the nation’s premier manufacturers makes this event even sweeter.

Since the inception of the Symposium in 2004, Rutabaga Paddlesports, based in Madison, Wisconsin chose to donate a portion of the event proceeds to the Door County Land Trust (DCLT).  "We recognized the need to give back to the community that literally opened its doors to the paddling community," said Rutabaga Paddlesports owner, Darren Bush.  "Paddlers have received a warm welcome from the citizens of Door County and there's no better way to say thank you than to help preserve the beauty of Door County."   To date, Rutabaga Paddlesports has donated in excess of $20,000 to the DCLT.

“Paddling is a great way to explore Door County,” said Terrie Cooper, the Land Program Director of DCLT, “but building skills and learning how to paddle safely on these big, and sometimes very challenging waters, is important.   We’re very grateful for the continual support Rutabaga Paddlesports provides for this event.” 
There are still slots available for one day, 2-day or the full weekend.  You can register at www.everyonepaddles.com or for more information, contact Simon at Rutabaga Paddlesports in Madison, Wisconsin at simonc@rutabaga.com or 800-472-3353, ext 226.

 


The Door County Land Trust Invites All to the Dedication of the Grand View Overlook and Park in Ellison BayGrand View Dedication- Saturday, June 23rd at 4:00 pm

The Door County Land Trust invites all to a dedication of the Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday, June 23 at 4:00 pm. The celebration is being held in conjunction with Olde Ellison Bay Days and commemorates the purchase and permanent protection of the Grand View property by the Door County Land Trust and the establishment of the new Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park.

“This is a momentous day for the Door County community,” states Terrie Cooper, land program director for the Door County Land Trust. “The Grand View is one of Door County’s most loved properties. Knowing that it is preserved forever, that it will always be here for us and for future generations to enjoy, is something to celebrate.”

The Door County Land Trust purchased 16 acres at the Grand View site in March of 2012 after many years of negotiations, grant writing and fundraising. Grants were received from the National Highway Department and Wisconsin’s Knowles/Nelson State Stewardship Fund and additional funds were provided by the Door County Community Foundation and private donors.

According to Dan Burke, executive director for the Door County Land Trust, “The Land Trust gives serious consideration to taking on a project of this magnitude as grants do not cover all of the project’s costs. With limited resources, we rely on support from the community. We’re thrilled that nearly four hundred individuals, families and area businesses generously stepped forward to make this project a reality. The dedication ceremony is a chance for us to celebrate what we’re capable of if we work together.”

The park dedication will include an opening reading by author, Norb Blei, historical remarks by Jan and Frank Forkert, and words of commemoration and thanks from Land Trust staff and past board president, Dave Callsen. The event will take place at the park, located 3 ½ miles north of Sister Bay on highway 42. Parking is being offered on the west side of the highway directly across from Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church.

Long-range plans for the Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park include the creation of hiking trails, habitat restoration and the transfer of ownership to the Town of Liberty Grove.

Reservations for the dedication are encouraged but not necessary. RSVP by calling the Land Trust office at (920)746-1359 or by emailing info@doorcountylandtrust.org.

It is Grand!

From the new park atop the Niagara Escarpment, one of North America’s highest bluffs along the escarpment is visible to the west. It is the site of the Ellison Bluff County Park. To the north, one can see the bluff that shelters the Clearing Folk School and, beyond that, the bluff that houses Door Headlands County Park. In the far distance to the northeast is Washington Island and to the west, the shores of Upper Michigan. Set off by the sparkling waters of Green Bay, the views truly are grand. (Legend has it that Jens Jensen, founder of the Clearing Folk School, when seeing the Grand View for the first time, flung his arms up in rapturous delight, letting go of his steering wheel and sending his Model A Ford into the opposite ditch!)

The Grand View property was once owned by Ellison Bay’s founder, Johan Berndt Eliason. In the late 1800’s, Augustus Johnson, a Swedish immigrant, purchased the hill from Eliason and cleared the virgin forest for his farm. For over 125 years, subsequent generations of the Johnson family, including Russell and Virginia Hanson and Eugene and Cheryl Olson, have cared for and maintained the Grand View’s stunning scenic overlook. The Door County Land Trust thanks the Hansons and Olsons for their stewardship of this special place.

It Takes a Village

The purchase and creation of the Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park would not have been possible without the support of literally hundreds of individuals, businesses, foundations and agencies.

In April of 2010, a 66-mile stretch of highways 42 and 57 north of Sturgeon Bay was declared a Wisconsin Scenic Byway. The Land Trust applied for and was awarded a large grant (the first received in Door County) from the National Highway Department’s Scenic Byway grant program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The Land Trust also applied for and was awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Knowles/Nelson Stewardship Fund, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Additional funds were provided by the Door County Community Foundation. As state and federal grants do not cover all of the expenses, the Land Trust appealed to the Door County community. Nearly four hundred individuals, businesses and foundations stepped forward with generous contributions. The Land Trust thanks all of these entities and the thousands of loyal Land Trust members whose support over the years has made it an organization equipped to preserve the places our community cares about the most, places like the Grand View. Final thanks go to the Liberty Grove Historical Society for providing parking for the new Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park.


The Door County Land Trust Purchases a Portion of the Historic Camp Cuesta Girl Scout Camp on Kangaroo Lake 

Open House to be Held Saturday, June 2

32-acre Addition to Kangaroo Lake Preserve - Photo by Bobbie WebsterMay 30, 2012- The Door County Land Trust announces the purchase of 32 acres of the historic Camp Cuesta Girl Scout Camp along the northwest side of Kangaroo Lake. The property adjoins lands already owned by the Land Trust and brings the permanently protected acreage at the Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve to over 700.

The Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve is home to springs, seeps, dense cedar swamps and rocky outcroppings that provide a haven for bald eagles, osprey, panfish and waterfowl of all sorts. Camp Cuesta is aptly named for the forested dolomite bluffs, or cuestas, that rise from the lake’s western shore. The 100-ft high forested bluffs provide some of the most spectacular scenery Door County has to offer.

According to Terrie Cooper, land program director for the Door County Land Trust, the Land Trust is thrilled to partner with the Girl Scouts to permanently protect a portion of Camp Cuesta. “The purchase by the Land Trust helps both organizations fulfill long-term goals. The Land Trust is protecting a place of great ecological and scenic value; the Girl Scouts are deriving needed income and will forever be able to use the property for nature exploration and education. It’s a win-win scenario.”

The Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes have retained ownership of all the structures on the Camp Cuesta site and the acreage surrounding them and will continue to operate the camp as they have in the past.

Funds for the Land Trust purchase were made possible through generous grants from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund of Wisconsin and through private donations from Door County Land Trust supporters.

The public is invited to an open house on the newly-protected property on June 2 from 9 am – noon. Hosted by the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes and the Door County Land Trust, the open house celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout organization and the recent Land Trust purchase. Hikes will be offered at 9 am, 10 am and 11 am with self-guided hikes from 9 am – 12 pm. Refreshments will be offered at Camp Cuesta throughout the morning.

Hikers will traverse a high ridge that was once shoreline of ancient Lake Algonquin; they will then descend down the cuesta to Peil Creek. A temperature shift accompanies the descent and many of the plants found here are similar to those found in boreal forests as far north as Canada. Hemlocks, spruce, fir, big tooth aspen are a few remnants of the ecosystem that covered much of northern Wisconsin following the glacial period. Hikers may be fortunate enough to spot a white egret, great blue heron, bald eagle or osprey and may see fossil remains from when this land was once located near the equator and covered by the Silurian Sea.

Following the open house, Door County Girl Scouts will plant trees donated by Evergreen Nursery at the Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve in honor of their 100th anniversary and the new Land Trust/Girl Scout partnership.

Hikes depart from the Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve located approximately 3.5 miles from Baileys Harbor. From Highway 57 in downtown Baileys Harbor, turn west on County F, travel approximately 2 miles to the intersection of County F and County EE, travel approx. 2 miles west on County EE and turn south on North Maple Road. Travel approx. 1 mile south on North Maple Rd. and park along the west side of the road near 7912 N. Maple Road. Hikes will begin at the Land Trust’s trailhead and end at Camp Cuesta. Those not interested in hiking are invited to attend the Open House at Camp Cuesta, 8026 Maple Road, anytime between 9 am and noon.


Land Trust Announces Largest Conservation Purchase in Door County in Nearly 50 Years

483 Acres Preserved in Town of Sevastopol

483 Acres Preserved at Shivering Sands- Photo by Julie SchartnerApril 23, 2012- In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt recommended that land just inland from Lake Michigan in the Town of Sevastopol be preserved and open for the public to enjoy. One hundred and seven years later, President Roosevelt’s wishes have been granted.

The Door County Land Trust recently purchased 483 undeveloped, pristine acres just south of the Whitefish Dunes State Park. The property is part of the Shivering Sands State Natural Area (SNA) and is bordered on the east by Glidden Drive; it adjoins lands already protected by the Nature Conservancy. The purchase represents the largest conservation project in the Land Trust’s 26-year history and the largest conservation project in Door County since the 1967 expansion of Newport State Park.

“A project of this magnitude would not have been possible without a lot of people coming together and working toward a common goal,” states Dan Burke, Door County Land Trust Executive Director. “The Land Trust had the backing and support of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Town of Sevastopol, many sporting organizations and the Glidden Drive Association. Most importantly, the families that owned the land displayed an extraordinary amount of patience as this purchase took over three years to complete. Without their vision and perseverance, this land would not have been protected. ”

The purchase by the Land Trust means the public will now have an expanded opportunity to experience and appreciate the beauty and diversity of the Shivering Sands area as the land will be available for hiking, hunting, and other nature-based activities. For Dick Baudhuin, one of the former owners of the property, public access was a motivating factor for selling to the Land Trust. “I feel strongly that this land be open for the public to enjoy and that sustainable forestry activities continue. I want this to be a place that brings the community together, a place where people who appreciate nature can share their common interests.” Map of 483-acre Purchase at Shivering Sands

The Land Trust’s recent purchase includes portions of two wild lakes, Schwartz and Arbter, hundreds of acres of forest, and numerous spring-fed springs, seeps and creeks. According to Wisconsin’s late, renowned ecologist, Jim Zimmerman, “Shivering Sands is the largest unbroken natural area in Door County and has the largest white cedar tract in Wisconsin.”

Identification as a Wisconsin Five Star Land Legacy Area further solidified the claim that the Shivering Sands SNA is a biologically-rich jewel. It houses nineteen natural landscape communities including dunes, kettles, swales, old and present shorelines, small lakes, streams, ponds, fens, bogs and forests. These natural communities provide habitat for unique plants such as dwarf lake iris, tussock bulrush and coast sedge. They also provide habitat for an impressive list of animals such as otter, fisher, mink, weasel, badger, fox, sandhill crane, bald eagle, one hundred plus other species of breeding birds, and the federally-endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly.

The Door County Land Trust plans to transfer ownership of the preserved land to the DNR for long-term management. The Land Trust will work with the DNR and volunteers to establish and maintain hiking trails, eradicate invasive non-native plants, and manage the health of the upland forest community.

Funds for this purchase were made possible through generous grants from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund of Wisconsin and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetland program. The Land Trust extends its thanks to The Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin for its invaluable help in securing grant funds and to members of the Land Trust for providing the private funding needed to make this historic project a reality.


News Coverage of the Land Trust Purchase at Shivering Sands

Watch the Video by Fox 11 News:

Big conservation deal in Door County: fox11online.com

Click image below to play video.

 

 

Read the April 23, 2012 Journal Sentinal Article By Don Behm:

Conservancy group acquires large Door County parcel; Shivering Sands encompasses the largest cedar swamp in state


The Grand View is Preserved Forever!

Land Trust Purchases Iconic Grand View Property in Ellison Bay; Announces Plans to Create Scenic Overlook and Park!

March 7, 2012- The Door County Land Trust announces that after nearly three years of negotiations it has completed the purchase of the iconic Grand View property along Highway 42 at the top of the bluff in Ellison Bay. This purchase permanently protects a popular scenic vista that has recently been threatened by development.

Although enjoyed by the public as a defacto park, the Grand View property has been under private ownership. When a large-scale condominium and residential project was approved for the property in 2006, the Land Trust expressed its interest in protecting this land and the scenic views it provides.

In 2010, the Land Trust, a local non-profit organization, entered into a purchase agreement with the owners of the property and began efforts to raise the $1,133,000 needed for the purchase and short-term land management activities. The Land Trust secured over $900,000 in grants from the National Highway Department’s Scenic Byways program and Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and received nearly $250,000 from private individuals. The effort culminated with the Land Trust’s March 7th purchase of the 16-acre property.

“This property is near and dear to people’s hearts,” states Terrie Cooper, Land Program Director for the Door County Land Trust, “and we’re thrilled with the support we’ve received. Nearly 500 individuals and families stepped forward with contributions to make this purchase a reality- everything from five dollar gifts to much larger gifts. We also received many heart-felt notes of thanks. The Grand View evokes a lot of fond memories and we’re happy that it will continue to do so.”

The Land Trust plans to establish the “Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park” and to ultimately turn the property over to the Town of Liberty Grove for ownership and long-term management. According to Cooper, “We have been working in partnership with the Town of Liberty Grove to create a ‘win-win’ scenario. The partnership will ensure that the Land Trust’s protection and ecological restoration goals are met and also that the Town’s goal of providing a safe, first-rate, destination-style park is met. The Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park will be an asset to the community and showcase just what a special place Ellison Bay is.”

With Land Trust assistance, the Town of Liberty Grove will establish hiking trails, install educational signage, and implement habitat restoration activities on the lower section of the park along Hillside Drive. The park will be open to the public for sightseeing, hiking, picnicking and other low-impact recreational uses. The dedication and grand opening for the Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park will take place as part of the Olde Ellison Bay Days festivities on Saturday, June 23.

Ellison Bay resident and Door County Land Trust board member, Dave Callsen and his wife, Vonnie, are extremely pleased with the preservation of the Grand View property and the role the Land Trust was able to play. “This project exemplifies the important role a local land trust plays in a community. Because we have a strong land trust, because our community supports our land trust, we have a tool to protect places that mean the most to us, like Grand View.”

The Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park is the first project along the newly-designated Door County Coastal Byway to be funded through the federal Scenic Byway grant program. In April of 2010, a 66-mile stretch of highways 42 and 57 north of Sturgeon Bay was officially declared a Wisconsin Scenic Byway. The Wisconsin Scenic Byway’s Citizen Handbook states that designated routes “support tourism and economic development…strengthen civic pride, and make communities more attractive places to live and work.”

 


The Door County Land Trust’s Purchase of the Grand View Property Moving Forward

Closing Date Set and Campaign to Raise Final Funds Resumes

February 24, 2012- The efforts to purchase and protect the iconic 16-acre Grand View property overlooking Ellison Bay received a big boost recently when legal issues surrounding the purchase by the Door County Land Trust were resolved. The Land Trust, a local non-profit land conservation organization, has been working to permanently protect the Grand View property for nearly three years and has now set a March 7 closing date.

“The Door County Land Trust is obviously very pleased that all legal impediments and title issues that were delaying the sale have been settled and resolved. Now our attention can turn to raising the remaining funds needed to pay for the purchase and to establish a public scenic overlook and park,” comments Dan Burke, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust.

Total costs for acquisition and short-term land management activities of the 16-acre Grand View project are estimated to be $1,133,000. The Land Trust applied for and received two grants totaling $905,755 to assist with the purchase from Wisconsin’s State Stewardship Fund and from the Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways Fund. The remaining $227,000 must be provided through private donations. A portion of the private dollars has been raised; the Land Trust is now seeking to raise the final dollars needed before the March 7 closing date.

The Grand View property, though privately owned, is visited and photographed by thousands of residents and tourists each year. Continued public enjoyment of the spectacular view came into question in 2006 when a large-scale condominium and residential project was approved and construction began.

“The Grand View property is one of the most beloved views in the county and in the state,” says Terrie Cooper, Land Program Director for the Door County Land Trust. “When this view was threatened, people realized that what ‘had always been there’ might not be there in the future without a concerted effort. We are confident that the community will step forward to help permanently protect one of our natural treasures.” View of pond on Grand View property- Photo by Julie Schartner

Shortly after closing, the Land Trust will transfer ownership of the Grand View property to the Town of Liberty Grove and will work in partnership with the Town to establish the Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park. The park’s opening and dedication ceremony will be held in late June. The park will be open for sightseeing, hiking, picnicking and other low-impact recreational uses. The upper 4 acres of the property will be mowed and maintained as a scenic overlook. The lower 12 acres, located along the south side of Hillside Drive, includes marshy wetlands and two ponds. This area will undergo habitat restoration and be the site of a new hiking trail system.

Ellison Bay resident and local business owner, Dave Callsen, is enthusiastic about Grand View’s value to the Door County community. “My wife Vonnie and I drive into Ellison Bay every day and always slow down to marvel at the remarkable view. This very special place has been naively taken for granted until the past few years when the potential for development became real. We are so pleased that the Door County Land Trust boldly stepped forward to make sure this incomparable Door County vista will be here for everyone--ALWAYS!"


Southern Door Farmland Protected

Land Trust Signs Conservation Easements on Farmland along Highways 42 and 57

Conservation Easement Protects 270 Acres in Southern Door- Photo by Julie Schartner

December 21, 2011- The Door County Land Trust announces the protection of two parcels totaling 270 acres along Highways 42 and 57 in the southern Door townships of Brussels and Forestville. The Binard family, owners of both properties, and the Door County Land Trust, recently entered into conservation easement agreements that will preserve the land’s scenic and rural character far into the future.

“The decision by the Binards to keep their productive farmland open and free from future development helps preserve Southern Door’s agricultural heritage,” states Terrie Cooper, Land Program Director for the Land Trust. “The Land Trust is honored to have worked with the Binard family to protect their beautiful and highly visible family farmland.”

Much of the now-protected Binard property is bisected by Highway 42 at the Door-Kewaunee County line just south of Forestville. “Essentially, the Binard property is the entryway to Door County,” explains Cooper. “What better way to welcome visitors and residents than with a protected stretch of the rural scenery southern Door County is famous for.”


Door County Land Trust Featured on Regional TV Show

The Door County Land Trust was featured on the December 2011 edition of Door County TODAYDecember 2011- The Door County Land Trust has been featured on "The Natural Door" segment of the December 2011 edition of Door County TODAY, a new regional TV show.  You can watch the show on YouTube or catch it on Public Access TV in Door County (Charter Channel 987: 9 am, 1 pm, 5 pm, 9 pm, 1 am; Charter Channel 986: 10 am and 6 pm on weekdays) and on OnDemand in Oshkosh, Fox Cities, Green Bay and Marinette.

Door County TODAY is a new regional TV show whose aim is to display the 'real' Door County, in all its natural glory — its county and state parks, its shorelines, bluffs and stone fences…plus its uniquely interesting people — the restaurateurs, innkeepers, shopkeepers, potters, musicians, writers and painters who are the County's backbone. This is the 'Door County of the mind,' the almost-mystical Peninsula that visitors take home with them in their hearts and minds. From the publishers of the Door County Go Guide, Door Guide Publishing.


Door County Land Trust Compares Favorably with National Land Trust Census Report

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve- photo by Julie SchartnerDecember 5, 2011- The total number of acres protected by local, state and national land trusts increased by 27% between 2005 and 2010, this according to the latest Census Report released by the Land Trust Alliance.  According to the“2010 National Land Trust Census Report, a Look at Voluntary Land Preservation in America” land trusts, non-profit organizations that work with landowners to conserve lands of scenic and ecological value, have now protected 47 million acres across the country, an area twice the size of all continental national parks combined.

According to Dan Burke, the executive director of the Door County Land Trust (DCLT), this national rate of growth was matched and surpassed on a local level.  “Since 2005, the number of acres permanently protected by the Door County Land Trust has increased by over 50%; we now have nearly 6,000 acres under permanent protection.  In what has been a weak economy, this is an impressive figure and reflects a steady commitment to preserving the places that matter most to the people of Door County.”

Within the state of Wisconsin, a total of 58 independent land trusts exist and together have protected over 280,000 acres.  This figure includes 162,000 protected by The Nature Conservancy, the largest land trust in the state.  Wisconsin ranks 26th in the nation in number of acres protected.

Of all regions in the country, the Midwest as a whole experienced the largest increase, 82%, in the total number of acres preserved.  However, it continues to lag behind the rest of the country, having roughly half the number of protected acres as the Northwest or Southeast, for example.

According to the report, local and state land trusts in Wisconsin boast 17,847 financial supporters and nearly 4,000 active volunteers. On a local level, DCLT is supported by over 3,000 annual contributors and is aided by hundreds of active volunteers.

“This is the really exciting part of the land trust story,” states Burke.  “When people contribute their time and their dollars, it means they are passionately committed to preserving our natural heritage.  Door County and the state of Wisconsin are beautiful places.  Working hand-in-hand with landowners and members of the community has resulted in the protection of our most valued places and is of great public benefit.”  The majority of lands owned by land trusts are open to the public for recreational activities like hiking, skiing, fishing and hunting.

In addition to the quantity of acres protected and volunteers and supporters enlisted, the 2010 National Land Trust Census Report also measures the quality of land preservation work across the country.  It reports a sharp increase in the number of land trusts that have adopted strategic conservation plans and criteria for the selection of properties.  The report also shows that from 2005 to 2010, land trusts have more than doubled the funds they’ve dedicated to monitoring, caring for and legally defending the lands they’ve protected. 

DCLT board president, Judy Lokken, finds this information particularly encouraging. “Our job as a land trust is not only to protect land but to make sure we are doing so in the most strategic way we know how and that our efforts stand the test of time.  DCLT has proactively planned for the future both in its land preservation goals and by funding its endowment, primarily through the designation of planned gifts.”

“The land trust community has worked hard to respond to and reflect the priorities of the people and places around them,” states Burke.  “The finding of this 2010 Census report bode well for the future of land preservation in America as it is being accomplished by the land trust community.”

Click here to read the full National Land Trust Census report.


Door County Land Trust Reacts to Stewardship Cuts

For comments from Door County Land Trust executive director, Dan Burke, on the role the Knowles-Nelson State Stewardship Fund has played in preserving lands in Door County, see the recent Peninsula Pulse Article, Door County Land Trust Reacts to Stewardship Cuts.


Peninsula Pulse, February 22, 2011

Stewardship Cuts Put Land Trust On Edge
By Myles Dannhausen Jr.

When Governor Scott Walker announced that he would freeze spending on Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund spending for the remainder of the fiscal year, it came as a big surprise to Dan Burke, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust.

"There's only about $2 million, of $86 million for the year, left in the budget," Burke said. "The immediate freeze in the middle of this year's granting program puts the breaks on projects that have been two or three years in the making."

Burke said he's concerned that some land deals will be lost right away. The Land Trust is a nonprofit that works to preserve targeted lands on the Door Peninsula for preservation. In the last 25 years, the Land Trust has preserved over 5,000 acres with a combination of private donations and stewardship funds. Those lands are open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking, and kayaking.  Read more on the Peninsula Pulse website.


Land Trust Purchase Protects Key Natural Area in City of Sturgeon Bay

Strawberry Creek- Photo by Julie SchartnerNovember 19, 2010- The Door County Land Trust announced a significant land purchase within the City of Sturgeon Bay that preserves 112 acres along the west shore of Sturgeon Bay near the entrance to the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. The property lies along Strawberry Lane about 2 miles southeast of downtown Sturgeon Bay and Strawberry Creek bisects the parcel. The property also borders the Land Trust’s Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve.

Water is the predominate feature of this newly protected parcel. It boasts nearly 2,000 feet of Sturgeon Bay shore frontage, a 3-acre wildlife pond and almost all of Strawberry Creek. Strawberry Creek originates on the Door County Land Trust’s Ship Canal Nature Preserve and empties into Sturgeon Bay just west of the canal itself. It is home to the first stocking and egg collection site for Chinook salmon in Wisconsin and continues to be Wisconsin’s primary source of Chinook salmon eggs for Lake Michigan.

This recent purchase expands the new Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve by nearly 30%. The Land Trust established the preserve in December of last year with the purchase of 332 acres and 750 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline along the south side of the ship canal from the Sturgeon Bay Utilities. Since this initial purchase, the Land Trust has been hard at work establishing a hiking trail system, cleaning up debris, removing invasive species, and erecting informational signs and kiosks. The recent addition of 112 acres brings the total number of protected acres at the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve to nearly 450.

“The Land Trust is very excited about acquiring this property because its protection will have so many positive and lasting impacts for our community,” states Land Trust executive director, Dan Burke. “Those who love to fish will be thrilled to know that Strawberry Creek is protected. Boaters will continue to enjoy the property’s long stretch of undeveloped, scenic shoreline. And wildlife enthusiasts will celebrate the expanded protection of one of Door County’s most important nature preserves.”

The protection of this land is also important to the Asher family from whom the Land Trust purchased the property. “These 112 acres have been in our family for over 40 years and the land holds a lot of sentimental value for us,” explains Steve Asher. “My parents acquired the property in 1968 and we kids grew up exploring the lands and waters here. We couldn’t be happier that the Door County Land Trust is now the steward of this special place.”

Funds for this purchase were provided by a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund grant and a Coastal Wetlands grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Private donations are now being sought to cover remaining project costs including restoration activities and the removal of invasive species like phragmites that threaten the ecological integrity of the shoreline.
 


Purchase Protects Centerpiece Parcel at Door County Land Trust’s Kellner Fen Nature Preserve

Kellner Fen Aerial View- Photo byJeff DavisOctober 26, 2010- The Door County Land Trust announced the recent purchase of 40 acres at the center of the Kellner Fen, a 400-acre wetland complex located 4 miles north of Sturgeon Bay along Lake Michigan. The Door County Land Trust established the Kellner Fen Nature Preserve in 2003 and with this recent addition has permanently preserved nearly 150 acres.

“The Kellner Fen is a very special, almost hidden place,” states Dan Burke, executive director of the Door County Land Trust. “The Land Trust is thrilled to acquire the 40-acre parcel at the very center of it all. The uniqueness of this area was once known and appreciated by only a small group of neighboring land owners. Now, because of its rare ecological features, the fen is recognized by the broader conservation community as a place worthy of protection.”

The Kellner Fen features a large expanse of open water and an extensive, fragile sedge mat that floats on top of the underlying water. It is protected on the east by a sand dune nearly a mile long and is surrounded on other sides by dense forests. The fen provides habitat for rare and unusual wetland species of insects, plants, and birds and is a breeding ground for the federally-endangered Hines Emerald Dragonfly. The fen is home to a number of orchids such as the arethusa and carnivorous plants such as sundews and pitcher plants. Sandhill Cranes are common visitors and nest on the edges of the lagoon.

Aside from its outstanding ecological attributes, the Kellner Fen also has a rich cultural history. Kellner Fen was once home to a small cranberry operation on the northeastern portion of the lake. A manmade drainage ditch and dam allowed flooding of the fields for harvest. The fen was also home to a frog farm in the first part of the 20th century, a time when frog legs were a popular item on restaurant menus.

The Kellner Fen is one of Door County’s embayment lakes. Embayment lakes and wetland complexes are found along the east side of the Door Peninsula and Washington Island and were once part of Lake Michigan. Water currents and shifting sands closed them off from the larger lake and created separate microcosms. Clark Lake, Kangaroo Lake, Mud Lake and Europe Lake are just some of Door County’s embayment lakes. Kellner Fen differs from the other embayment lakes as it has no natural outlet to Lake Michigan and is completely isolated by natural sand deposits and subsequent dune formation.

“The remoteness and the ecological diversity found at this wetland area put it high on our wish list of places to protect,” explains Jodi Milske, stewardship coordinator for the Door County Land Trust. “Remote as it is, the fen has not escaped invasion by non-native plant species like glossy buckthorn and phragmites. One of things we’ll be working hard on in the coming months and years is the eradication of these invasive species.”

Funds for this most recent 40-acre purchase were provided by a Coastal Wetlands grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Private donations from Land Trust supporters also helped make the purchase possible.


Purchase Expands Door County Land Trust’s Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve by Over 50%

2010 Lautenbach Woods 50-acre Addition- Photo by Julie SchartnerOctober 7, 2010- The Door County Land Trust announced the recent purchase of property south of the village of Egg Harbor. This acquisition adds 50 acres of meadow and forest to the Door County Land Trust’s Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve and protects over ½ mile of open space along County Highway G.

“Adding these 50 acres to the nature preserve is exciting for several reasons,” explains Dan Burke, executive director of the Door County Land Trust. “This purchase helps to preserve the rural character of one of Door County’s most scenic roadways by protecting highly-developable land. It also preserves a portion of the Niagara Escarpment that provides habitat for a number of rare plants and animals. The timing of this acquisition is certainly appropriate given 2010 has been designated the Year of the Escarpment by the Wisconsin State Legislature. Anyone who loves Door County knows the escarpment is well worth celebrating and protecting.”

The Niagara Escarpment, a 650-mile long cuesta, or ridge that runs all the way from Rochester, New York across southern Canada and into Wisconsin provides Door County with its signature landscape—the well-loved, craggy, cedar-studded limestone bluffs.

The Door County Land Trust has long been interested in the escarpment for its ecological value as it contains caves, sink holes, talus slopes and moist cliffs. Rain water filtering through its deep limestone fissures results in the biologically rich springs and vernal ponds that are commonly found at the base of the escarpment.

Terrie Cooper, land program director for the Land Trust, explains, “The escarpment is a world of its own. Even on the hottest August afternoon, the escarpment is damp and cool thus creating a very specialized habitat for unique species. The Niagara Escarpment is one of the reasons Door County ranks first in the state for biological diversity.” Cooper adds, “Land protection work around the escarpment is critical. The forested lands above the escarpment provide habitat for migrating birds and also help filter and purify rain water that eventually drains into our water table and the Green Bay watershed.”

Recognizing the value of the escarpment, the Land Trust has been hard at work protecting the lands above and below it at the Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve. In addition to the 50 acres just acquired, four other properties were added to the preserve in 2009 bringing the total size of the preserve to 140 acres.

Burke encourages people to visit the Launtenbach Woods Nature Preserve. “The Lautenbach Woods Preserve has a marvelous hiking trail system showcasing the escarpment. We encourage folks to visit and experience for themselves why this is such a special place and why it deserves protection.”

Funds for this most recent 50-acre purchase were provided by Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and the Fox River/Green Bay Natural Resource Trustee Council administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Private donations from Land Trust supporters also helped make the purchase possible.


Land Trust Ceremony Formally Dedicates the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Preserve Dedication  Ceremony- Photo by Julie SchartnerAugust 27, 2010- The Door County Land Trust hosted a celebration and preserve dedication of the new Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve. In December of 2009, the Door County Land Trust purchased 332 acres in the City of Sturgeon Bay along the shores of Lake Michigan on the south side of the Sturgeon Bay-Lake Michigan Shipping Canal. The preserve dedication was an opportunity to officially open the preserve and to thank the previous landowners, volunteers, foundations and granting agencies, and Door County Land Trust supporters whose vision, hard work and generosity made the creation of the nature preserve possible.

Public hiking trails, parking areas, informational kiosks and maps are all now located at the new Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve. The preserve is home to nearly 1,000 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, forested wetlands, a series of ancient shorelines, and many rare plants and animals.


Ceremony held to Dedicate the Harold C. Wilson Three Springs Nature Preserve

Three Springs Preserve Dedication Ceremony- Photo by Julie SchartnerJuly 2010- On Friday, July 23, over seventy Door County Land Trust supporters, neighbors and community members gathered on Three Springs Road just east of Sister Bay to officially dedicate and celebrate northern Door County’s newest nature preserve, the 421-acre Harold C. Wilson Three Springs Nature Preserve. The preserve is owned by the Door County Land Trust and is open to the public for hiking, hunting, birding, skiing and other low-impact recreational and educational activities.

“This is an exciting day for the Land Trust and for the Door County community as a whole,” explains Door County Land Trust executive director, Dan Burke. “When the Door County Land Trust purchased and permanently protected the Three Springs property in 2008, it was the largest undeveloped tract remaining in northern Door and the county’s largest conservation project in over 40 years. Over the past 18 months, our volunteers have been hard at work building trails and a wildlife viewing platform and generally getting the preserve ready for visitors. Today’s event is a tribute to them and to the many people who have cared for this land over the years and provided funds to preserve it. It’s been a real community effort.”

The new Harold C. Wilson Three Springs Nature Preserve is located two miles east of Sister Bay and lies within a 17,000-acre wildlife corridor that extends north of Baileys Harbor and stretches along Lake Michigan. This corridor hosts the highest density and greatest diversity of rare plants, animals and natural communities found in Wisconsin. The new preserve is also home to the headwaters of pristine North Bay. 

Since its settlement by European immigrants in the 1870s, the Three Springs property has been owned by only three families--the Ericksons, Wilsons and Reynolds. Friday’s dedication thanked and honored the families and their descendents.

According to Three Springs Preserve Steward and local historian, Paul Burton, “Three Springs is a special place because the ecology and essential character of the land has been preserved over the years. When the Erickson family settled here in the late 1800s, they were more interested in clearing the land and farming than providing a sanctuary for wildlife, but their impact on the land over time was minimal. Today, stone fences and the original barn stand as monuments to their struggle to farm land that resisted their best efforts.”

Erickson family descendents eventually sold the land to Harold C. Wilson of Ephraim in 1940. Wilson, of the Wilson’s Ice Cream family, was an avid naturalist and opened one of Wisconsin’s first public nature preserves on the site. Wilson’s children, Mary and Paul Wilson, were in attendance. Mary assured the crowd that “our father would love that this area has been preserved forever in its natural state and would be honored to have his name associated with it.”

The Door County Land Trust purchased the Three Springs property from George and Jean Reynolds in 2008. The Reynolds had owned and the land since 1970. Over their tenure, they added surrounding parcels as they became available, brining the contiguous acres from 160 to 460. George and Jean’s son Stephan spoke on behalf of his parents and family. “We are honored to be here for this dedication and we’re so pleased that the Door County Land Trust has taken over the stewardship of the Harold C. Wilson Three Springs Nature Preserve. Although we don’t have Three Springs all to ourselves anymore, that seems so entirely appropriate and gratifying. After all, nature is God’s gift to be shared by all who appreciate and respect it.”

Burke closed the dedication ceremony by thanking Land Trust supporters, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Knowles-Nelson State Stewardship Fund, and The Nature Conservancy for providing the financial support needed to create the new preserve. “Our real thank you gift,” stated Burke “is this beautiful preserve. We hope that the people of Door County come and explore and enjoy the treasures that are here and are inspired to help protect other special places like this.”


The Door County Land Trust Thanks the Sturgeon Bay High School Ecology Club for Supporting Land Preservation

SBHS Ecology Club - photo by Coggin Herringa

May 2010- The Sturgeon Bay High School Ecology Club presented the Door County Land Trust with a check for $700 in May to further its land preservation work. Students raised the dollars through popcorn sales and other fundraising events. The Door County Land Trust in turn recognized the Ecology Club for the volunteer work it’s done maintaining trails and working on the identification and eradication of invasive plant species at the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve. The advisor of the Ecology Club is retiring teacher, Carl Cochrane.

 


Recent Purchase Completes Land Protection Work at Washington Island’s Little Lake

Little Lake Preserve - photo by Julie SchartnerMay 2010- The Door County Land Trust announces the purchase of property on Little Lake, located on the far northwest side of Washington Island. This 1.38-acre parcel adds 200 additional feet of protected shoreline to the Door County Land Trust’s Little Lake Nature Preserve. This purchase is significant in that it completes the Land Trust’s immediate land protection goals for the Little Lake area. With the recent purchase, the Land Trust has protected a total of 33 acres and 5,546 feet of shoreline at the Little Lake Nature Preserve.

Karen Yancey, chair of the Door County Land Trust’s Washington Island Committee, explains, “This is very exciting news. Little Lake is the island’s only inland lake and it is a favorite spot not only for islanders and visitors, but also for wildlife. This is truly one of the island’s magical places. I feel good knowing that my children will be able to bring their children here someday and find the same serene place.”
Little Lake is fed by groundwater springs and surface run-off water and has a maximum depth of 5.5 – 7 feet. The present lake level is three feet above that of Lake Michigan. It supports a productive population of perch, rock and smallmouth bass and is part of a wetland complex that hosts a variety of rare boreal-rich plants such as the northern bog sedge, showy-lady’s slipper orchid, lesser fringed gentian, and dwarf lake iris. It also hosts old growth white cedars and stands of hemlock and provides critical habitat for a large number of migrating and nesting birds including bald eagles, white pelicans, osprey and great blue and black-crowned night herons. Its location provides an ideal resting point in the annual avian migratory trip to Canada from points south.

Terrie Cooper, Land Program Director for the Door County Land Trust, explains, “Few places in Door County can outshine Little Lake for its scenic beauty, ecological importance, and cultural and historical significance. By preserving the land surrounding the lake, the Door County Land Trust hopes to protect the health of the Little Lake ecosystem far into the future. We are thankful for the help we’ve received from willing landowners and from granting agencies such as the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Coastal Wetlands Grant program. Critical support also came from private individuals who support our work and have made private donations.”

The Door County Land Trust is a local, non-profit organization supported by over 2,000 contributing members. Its mission is to preserve, maintain and enhance lands that contribute significantly to the scenic beauty, open space and ecological integrity of Door County. Since its inception in 1986, the Land Trust has protected over 5,200 acres throughout Door County and over 700 acres on Washington and Detroit Islands. Many of the lands owned by the Door County Land Trust are open to the public for hiking, hunting, birding, skiing and other low-impact recreational and educational activities.

Wind and Water

Although the Door County Land Trust’s work at Little Lake began less than a decade ago, Mother Nature’s story goes back much further. The formation of Little Lake began five to eight thousand years ago with the collision of wind and water. These forces eroded portions of the massive 200-ft vertical limestone bluff now known as Boyers Bluff causing it to shed small pieces of itself into the turbulent waters of Lake Nippising below. The waves of Lake Nippising, now known as Lake Michigan, tumbled the rocks until they became smooth, baseball-sized cobblestones. Eventually, these cobblestones were pushed southward, closing off the opening to a small bay and creating what we now call Little Lake.

When H.R. Holand wrote his history of Door County, “Old Peninsula Days,” he recognized the unique character and beauty of Little Lake. “The little bay became a little lake, and the stormwrought belt of beach stones that closed it in became a dense belt of woodland. Now the little lake lies peacefully embosomed by steep hills…Among all the scenic delights of Door County this little lake is well toward the top.”

Native Americans and a Famous Economist

In addition to its ecological import, the Little Lake area has significant historical value as well. It was once home to a large village of Woodland era Native Americans and hosts a Native American burial ground. It was also the site of early French missionary efforts. The Jens Jacobsen Museum on the southwest end of Little Lake showcases a large collection of artifacts found in the area dating back some 3000 years. An Archeological Preservation Covenant with the Wisconsin State Historical Society protects the integrity of the village site.

More recent events add another layer of cultural significance to Little Lake. In 1915, Thorstein Bunde Veblen (1857-1929), one of American’s most famous economists and social theorists, purchased the property just acquired by the Land Trust. Veblen is perhaps best known for his treatise, “The Theory of the Leisure Class,” and for coining the phrase “conspicuous consumption.” According to “Washington Island’s Thorstein Veblen,” written by Islander Esther Gunnerson, Veblen first visited Washington Island in the early 1900s to learn and speak the Icelandic language with its inhabitants. He soon fell in love with its quiet beauty and purchased the Little Lake property for $300 in 1915 for use as a summer retreat. Older residents of the Little Lake area recall Veblen rowing across Little Lake with his stepdaughters each morning in a homemade skiff to purchase milk and butter from a nearby Icelandic farm. Veblen’s step-daughters inherited the Little Lake property upon Veblen’s death and eventually sold it in 1943. A study cabin built by Veblen was recently moved from its original site on the west side of Little Lake to the grounds of the Jens Jensen Museum by the Washington Island Heritage Conservancy. Renovation efforts are underway.
 


Door County Land Trust Addition at Bay Shore Blufflands

Newest addition to the Bay Shore Blufflands Preserve- photo by Julie Schartner

April 2010- The Door County Land Trust adds critical habitat acreage to its Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve

The Door County Land Trust is pleased to announce that its Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve is growing! In April, the Land Trust purchased another small but crucial piece to one of Door County’s most ecologically valuable and beloved natural areas.

The Land Trust’s work at the Bay Shore Blufflands began modestly in 1995 when the discovery of a colony of Ram’s-head Lady’s-slipper orchids, a state threatened plant, inspired the purchase of a two acre tract harboring these fragile orchids. More orchids were found near the property the following year and the Land Trust’s work began in earnest. What began as a two acre purchase has now grown to one of the largest nature preserves in northeast Wisconsin and hosts one of the most expansive colonies of Ram’s-head in the State. Located along Bay Shore Drive just west of Carlsville, the Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve now encompasses nearly 500 acres and includes impressive stretches of Niagara Escarpment as well as undeveloped Green Bay shoreline.

The Door County Land Trust was able to accomplish the latest addition to the Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve with the help of Land Trust supporters and the Knowles Nelson State Stewardship Fund.

To get a sense of the type of wildlife and habitat found at the Bay Shore Blufflands project area, be sure to check out the Earth Day photos.


Door County Land Trust Purchase Establishes the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve

Aerial view of Sturgeon Bay Canal- photo by Jeff DavisDecember 15, 2009—The Door County Land Trust announces that after six years of negotiating and fundraising it has completed the purchase of 332 acres within the city of Sturgeon Bay for the establishment of a public nature preserve. Known locally as the Canal Property, this parcel is located along Lake Michigan and the south side of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal. The Land Trust purchased the property from the Sturgeon Bay Utilities who have owned it since 1984.

“This is truly a remarkable place. It’s a favorite of the Door County community and we’re thrilled to be able to say that it is now permanently protected for all to enjoy and appreciate,” states Dan Burke, executive director of the Land Trust.

The Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve will be open to the public for low-impact recreational and educational uses such as swimming, hiking, wildlife viewing, school field trips, and research. The Land Trust intends to develop and maintain walking trails, erect educational kiosks and increase efforts to eradicate the invasive plant species now on the property. “The Ship Canal property is a well-loved community asset. We want it to stay that way. Our vision,” states Burke, “is to improve the ecological health of the property, enhance the experience for visitors, and make sure this treasure is well-cared for and around for generations to come.”

The Land Trust plans to formally dedicate the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve some time next summer.

Total costs for the purchase and short-term land stewardship of the property are just over $2 million. The Land Trust received over $1.6 million in grants from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Knowles-Nelson State Stewardship Fund and over $350,000 from private donors and foundations.

“This has been a very ambitious fundraising project, and we are so pleased by the community’s enthusiasm and generosity. Although the purchase itself is completed, we are still accepting donations for the ongoing care and maintenance of Door County’s newest nature preserve,” states Laurel Hauser, development director for the Land Trust.

The effort to purchase this land was greatly aided by leadership gifts received from the Ellsworth and Carla Peterson Charitable Foundation, American Transmission Company, the John C. Bock Foundation, the James E. Dutton Foundation, and an anonymous Sturgeon Bay foundation. “We are thankful for the generous support we received from many individual donors and the Door County Community Foundation as well. This has truly been a community-wide effort,” states Hauser.

“Selling the 332 acres to the Door County Land Trust is the best possible outcome for our ratepayers, the people of Door County, and the land itself,” states Jim Stawicki, general manager of the Sturgeon Bay Utilities. “The fact that Sturgeon Bay Utilities realized fair market value for the property and that the land will be well-cared for and available to all is a positive outcome for the entire community.”

Click here to view the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve Information Sheet (1 mb).Prior to the Land Trust purchase, protection of the Canal Property was in doubt as a number of development proposals have been considered over the years. More recent proposals included a coal-fueled power plant, aquatic industrial park, all terrain vehicle park and mixed use residential development.

Citizen groups, neighbors, and admirers of the Canal Property have worked for years to keep the land in its natural state. Educator and local naturalist, Mike Madden, describes the land as “one of Door County’s ecological gems. The pristine beach and dunes, ridge and swale formations of ancient shorelines, towering hemlocks and the awe-inspiring views of Lake Michigan and the canal make this one of our most beloved natural areas. In addition to its beauty, it provides habitat for many rare and endangered plants and animals including osprey, bald eagles, pitcher’s dune thistle and migrating warblers. This is an important place for us to protect and we’re grateful that the Land Trust is here to do it.”
 



The Kreuter Preserve 91 acres in the Town of Clay Banks

Kreuter Preserve- Photo by Julie SchartnerSeptember 2008- Located along Lake Michigan approximately 6 miles south of Sturgeon Bay, the 91-acre Kreuter Preserve offers what is arguably one of the most breathtaking views in all of Door County. From the top of a windswept bluff, a bucolic, green farm field stretches to the edge of a high clay bank.  This high bluff or bank then cascades down to a sand beach where it meets the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan.  Looking out on the horizon from this hill-top field, one sees the Door Peninsula appear and disappear as its wooded shoreline stretches northeastward out into the open lake.

The purchase of the Kreuter property by the Door County Land Trust in the autumn of 2008 protects nearly 3,000 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline—  one of the longest stretches of undeveloped, unprotected lakeshore remaining in Door County.

Also found here is a diverse mix of natural communities including cedar forest, open fields, a meandering stream, and, of course, the steep bluff that bisects this new nature preserve.  This eclectic mix of habitat provides an ideal place for many plants and animals to reside including shore birds, bald eagles and a number of rarely encountered wildflowers. 

The Door County Land Trust purchased this property from two sisters, Nancy and Susan Kreuter. Funding for this purchase was made possible by a grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, donations from Land Trust members, and a generous donation from the Kreuters in the form a “bargain sale.” The Kreuters agreed to sell their property to the Door County Land Trust for half of the appraised fair market value.

“We are thrilled that Susan and Nancy Kreuter provided us with the opportunity to purchase and protect this one-of-a-kind parcel,” states Dan Burke, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust.  “Due in large part to their generosity, the spectacular scenery and wild shoreline here will be enjoyed and appreciated by many people and will remain a place of beauty and inspiration forever. Over the next year, our staff and volunteers will be hard at work developing a detailed land management plan which will include habitat restoration as well as public use activities such as hiking, birding, and hunting.”   


Three Springs Preserve- Photo by Julie SchartnerThe Harold C. Wilson Three Springs Preserve― 421 acres near Sister Bay

August 2008- “The purchase of the Three Springs property marks the biggest conservation purchase ever by the Door County Land Trust and, more importantly, protects what had been the largest, unprotected parcel remaining in northern Door County,” said Dan Burke, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust.

Although this beautiful, undeveloped tract, lies just 2 miles east of Sister Bay, it is almost a secret place, out of sight of a major road and unknown to most of the public. The 421-acre Three Springs Preserve lies within a region of Door County which hosts the highest density and greatest diversity of rare plants, animals and natural communities found in Wisconsin. This property is a key piece in a 17,000-acre State Natural Area corridor that has been described as one of the premier natural landscapes of the western Great Lakes and is a pivotal parcel in a grand landscape of wilderness that encompasses the Ridges Sanctuary, Toft Point, Mud Lake, and North Bay.

Springs that meander through the property give it its name, but more importantly they provide specialized habitat for plants and animals, including endangered and threatened species. The rare Hines Emerald Dragonfly lays its eggs in vegetation on the banks of a pond formed by the springs. Endangered Dwarf Lake Iris and spectacular Showy Lady’s Slippers bloom in the swampy soil of nearby woods. Smallmouth bass, yellow perch, brown trout, Chinook salmon, and Northern Pike spawn in the coldwater springs. The headwaters of North Bay arise on the property, providing a critically important habitat for Lake Michigan’s whitefish population, 80% of which spawn just offshore of North Bay. The forests contain white cedar, tamarack, balsam fir and black ash. The property also provides crucial stopover and breeding habitat for neotropical migratory birds.

The Door County Land Trust purchased the Three Springs property in the autumn of 2008 and the acquisition was funded through a mix of state, federal and private funds. The Land Trust received a $746,000 grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and a $471,750 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Nature Conservancy generously provided the Land Trust with a $90,000 donation and a grant from the Wisconsin Land Fund also aided in the purchase. In addition, the Door County Land Trust received over $180,000 from its members in support of this project!

“An historic project of this magnitude could not have been accomplished alone,” explains Burke. “We thank our state and federal agency partners, The Nature Conservancy, and all our donors for working collaboratively to preserve this special place. We also owe a big thanks to the landowners, George and Jean Reynolds, for being great stewards of this place for the past 40 years and providing us with the opportunity to establish this new preserve.”

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Door County Land Trust
PO BOX 65
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

E-mail: info@doorcountylandtrust.org

Sturgeon Bay Phone: (920) 746-1359
Sister Bay Phone: (920) 854-47
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Copyright © 2013 Door County Land Trust.  All Rights Reserved.  Last modified: 09/11/13