Door County Land Trust Purchase Will Protect Key Natural Area in City of Sturgeon Bay

This recent DCLT purchase expands the new Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve by nearly 30% and safeguards Wisconsin’s primary source of Chinook salmon eggs for Lake Michigan.

The Door County Land Trust announces 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.

Strawberry Creek in Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve photo by Julie Schartner

Strawberry Creek in Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve photo by Julie Schartner

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.

The Land Trust established the new Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature 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,  expanding the new  preserve by nearly 30%.

“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.

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 5,400 acres throughout Door County.  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.

To find out more about the work of the Door County Land Trust, for preserve maps and directions, for information on our hunting program and to make an online contribution of support, please visit

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