Big and Little Susie Islands Donated into Permanent Conservation


Aerial view of Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin.

Sturgeon Bay, WI – Door County Land Trust is pleased to announce Big and Little Susie Islands have been donated into permanent conservation with the Door County Land Trust. The islands were owned by brothers Paul and Arni Richter and were passed on to family. The Richter family owned the Washington Island Ferry Line, with one ferry in the fleet christened Arni J. Richter, for his dedicated service to the community. The Susie Islands are generously donated by Arni’s family, children and grandchildren. Through the donation, the islands are permanently protected by Door County Land Trust and will be preserved as wildlife habitat.

Arni Richter’s conservation legacy on Washington Island was cemented in 2001 when he donated the Richter Community Forest Preserve to the Door County Land Trust; his family has continued that legacy of thoughtful generosity with the donation of Big and Little Susie Islands to the Door County Land Trust at the end of 2019.

The Big and Little Susie Islands together total approximately 15 acres and are located off the northwestern shore of Detroit Harbor on Washington Island. Between the Susie Islands and the shoreline of the nature preserve lays a freshwater estuary, known locally as the Richter Bayou, which is a significant and productive smallmouth bass nursery for northern Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The Susie Islands are undeveloped with an exterior ring of white cedar and an interior northern mesic forest which includes hardwood species such as sugar and red maple, American beech, white and yellow birch, and boreal conifer species such as black spruce and balsam fir. These island forests provide habitat for migratory and breeding birds.

Big and Little Susie Islands are an essential part of a larger conservation plan to protect the wetlands, forests, water quality, migratory and breeding bird habitat, and fisheries within Detroit Harbor. Since the Land Trust’s first purchase at Detroit Harbor in 2004, the Door County Land Trust now owns and manages nearly 165 acres as part of the Detroit Harbor Nature Preserve on Washington, Detroit, Big and Little Susie Islands.

The Door County Land Trust thanks the Richter and McClaren Families for their generous gift.

Land protection projects like this require strong, local land conservation organizations like Door County Land Trust. In partnership with the community, Door County Land Trust is able to assist in protecting the most ecologically and culturally significant landscapes on the Door Peninsula and islands.

Door County Land Trust seeks support from the community to enable future land protection projects that benefit both the people and wildlife of the peninsula. Whether you hunt, fish, hike or enjoy a walk with your family, Door County Land Trust is here to Protect What You Love.

For the month of December all contributions from new members will be doubled by a generous matching gift. To become a member or make a contribution of support, call (920)746-1359 or visit Thanks for your help to protect Door County!

For full press release – click here!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email