Over 400 Door County Land Trust supporters gathered Sunday evening, August 9, 2009 in the fields of Ed and Sandy Miller’s 110-acre property north of Baileys Harbor to celebrate the organization’s land protection successes of the past year.
The Door County Land Trust‘s 11th Annual Membership Gathering began with hikes through the fields and forests of the Millers’ property located on East Meadow Road. Hikers learned about the unique ecological features of this area which is part of the Mud Lake/North Bay watershed and how the Millers worked with the Door County Land Trust to permanently protect their land through a conservation easement agreement. Dinner was served under a large white, open-air tent with vistas of the cedar-lined fields.
Land Trust Board president, Dave Callsen, greeted the guests and introduced executive director, Dan Burke, who reported on the many successes of the past year. Topping the list was the establishment of two new public nature preserves, the 421-acre preserve at Three Springs just two miles east of Sister Bay and the Legacy Preserve along 3100 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline in Southern Door County. Additional causes for celebration include expanded nature preserves on Washington and Detroit Islands, large-scale restoration projects at several other Land Trust nature preserves, and the launching of a newly-designed web-site. Burke also announced, to enthusiastic applause, the recent decision by the Sturgeon Bay City Council to approve the sale of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal property to the Door County Land Trust provided the Trust is able to secure grant funding and raise the necessary private donations.
Burke noted that by year’s end, the Land Trust expects to reach and surpass 5,000 protected acres throughout Door County: “Our ability to preserve land for ourselves and for future generations has grown in proportion to our membership support. We thank all of you for caring about the future of Door County’s open spaces.”
The Land Trust presented the Ruth Neuman Landowner Appreciation Award of 2009 to Susan and Nancy Kreuter, two sisters whose bargain sale of 90 acres along Lake Michigan near Clay Banks led to the establishment of the Legacy Nature Preserve in late 2008. The award is named after Ruth Neuman, who in 1986 became the first person in Door County to protect their property with the Door County Land Trust.
The Land Trust also presented a Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is given each year to someone whose service and dedication has made the Land Trust what it is today and who exemplifies the Land Trust ideal in the community. This year’s award was presented to Mr. Carl Scholz, long-time board member and respected local environmentalist.
Naomi Carlson, chair of the Annual Membership Gathering, thanked the scores of volunteers who worked together to make the event a success. Land Trust staff ended the evening with audience participation in a rousing game of “What D’You Know about the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Property,” a knock-off of the popular “Whad’Ya Know” radio quiz show. Honorary host, Ms. Sandy Dune Thistle, offered entertaining and educational commentary regarding the Ship Canal property and awarded prizes to the winning contestants.
The Door County Land Trust is a local, non-profit organization working to preserve Door County’s open spaces, scenic beauty and ecological integrity. The Door County Land Trust is supported by over 2,000 annual dues-paying members. To become a Land Trust member or to get directions to Land Trust nature preserves open to the public, please visit our web-site, www.doorcountylandtrust.org.