Big. That’s the best way to describe the Harold C. Wilson Three Springs Nature Preserve. Big in size—at 515 acres it is one of the largest purchases ever by the Door County Land Trust. Big in historical significance—it has a long association with the area’s cultural past. And big in ecological importance—it preserves a key piece in a wildlife corridor that has been described as one of the premier natural landscapes of the western Great Lakes. Big and wild though it may be, the preserve is located just two miles outside of Sister Bay.
The springs and creek that meander through the property give the preserve its name, but more importantly these wetlands provide specialized habitat for plants and animals, including endangered and threatened species such as the Hine’s emerald dragonfly, dwarf lake iris and showy lady’s slipper. Perhaps the greatest value of Three Springs Nature Preserve is its location. It is a pivotal parcel in a grand landscape encompassing 17,000 acres of relatively wild, unfragmented land—from the Three Springs Preserve south to the Ridges Sanctuary and Toft Point State Natural Area in Baileys Harbor.
Help us continue to protect Door County’s special places. Door County Land Trust nature preserves were established to protect fragile ecological resources and provide habitat for plants and wildlife. You can help maintain the health of the forest, meadows, and wetlands by respecting the nature preserves in the following ways:
Stay on the trails. Hiking off-trail disturbs vegetation and wildlife, and increases your chances of encountering poison-ivy, other natural hazards, or trespassing outside of preserve boundaries.
Clean your boots or shoes. You can reduce the spread of invasive plants by brushing your boots or shoes where a boot brush station is provided.
Pets are welcome. Please keep your pets on a leash at all times and pick up after your pets.
Collecting is not allowed. Collecting of any vegetation, wildlife, or other material is not allowed.
Leave no trace. Please carry out everything that you carry in, including garbage.
Some activities are not allowed. Horseback riding, ATVs, bicycles, snowmobiles and other motorized recreational equipment is not allowed on the preserves.
Camping in parking lots or on Land Trust protected properties is not allowed. Use of the nature preserves is allowed from dawn until dusk.
Fires are not allowed on Land Trust protected properties.
Wear brightly colored clothing during hunting seasons. Hunting, trapping, and fishing may be allowed at some Door County Land Trust nature preserves. For more detailed information about hunting on Door County Land Trust preserves, please visit our Hunting Program page.
- 515 protected acres
- 1.75-mile looped hiking trail over fairly level terrain
- Scenic lookout over springs and wetlands
- Old stone fences and historic farm buildings that provide important bat habitat
- Critical habitat for rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals including the Hine’s emerald dragonfly and dwarf lake iris
- Haven for sandhill cranes, herons, and diving ducks