Oak Bluff Natural Area: Land Protection by the Bay 

Oak Bluff Natural Area. Photo by Joe Taylor


Door County Land Trust’s portfolio of protected properties includes a variety of ecologically sensitive lands protected for the plant and animal inhabitants. The latest land protection project, completed on December 6, 2023, is a perfect example of why some lands are best protected for wildlife.  When it comes to the Land Trust’s recent creation of the new 119-acre Oak Bluff Natural area, the ecological benefits can’t be overstated. With 1,700 feet of undeveloped shoreline, the property—just west of Brussels—is one of the largest remaining undeveloped bay shore parcels in the area. The new Oak Bluff Natural Area fills a critical role by providing bird habitat 20 miles north and 15 miles south of the nearest Priority Stopover Sites for migratory birds. 

Overlooking the waters of Green Bay, the property includes 150-foot-tall Niagara Escarpment bluffs with an underlying bedrock of fractured karst limestone. Above the escarpment and its bluff edge is a mature northern forest of red and white oak that provides habitat for migratory and nesting birds such as black-throated green warblers and pileated woodpeckers.   

Further inland, former agricultural land is slated for restoration, which will help to filter rain and snowmelt that would otherwise flow quickly through the fractured bedrock, carrying sediments into Green Bay. The Land Trust’s planned land management includes planting trees to increase forest diversity in some areas, and short- grass prairie species that attract pollinators and benefit grassland birds in other areas. For the enjoyment of visitors, a short loop trail will offer a panoramic blufftop view of Green Bay. 

“Oak Bluff is the first property Door County Land Trust has purchased in this part of the County,” according to Jesse Koyen, Land Program Director. “The Niagara Escarpment is globally rare and a prominent feature of this natural area.” 

The purchase of this newly protected property is supported by donations from the community, and through grant funding provided in part by John C. Bock Foundation, Raibrook Foundation, Door County Community Foundation Healthy Water Fund, WI-Department of Natural Resources Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-Join Venture Fund, and the Fox River and Green Bay Trustees Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund. 

Door County Land Trust is a community supported non-profit conservation organization that relies on donations to help protect Door County’s ecologically sensitive lands and waters. You can join the effort to protect Door County by making a donation. When you join today, your donation will be DOUBLED thanks to a generous matching grant from John and Jean Van Den Brandt. Donate today! 

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