In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt recommended that land just inland from Lake Michigan in the Town of Sevastopol be preserved and open for the public to enjoy …one hundred and seven years later, his wish has been granted.
The Door County Land Trust recently purchased 483 undeveloped, pristine acres just south of the Whitefish Dunes State Park. The property is part of the Shivering Sands State Natural Area (SNA) and is bordered on the east by Glidden Drive; it adjoins lands already protected by the Nature Conservancy. The purchase represents the largest conservation project in the Land Trust’s 26-year history and the largest conservation project in Door County since the 1967 expansion of Newport State Park.
“A project of this magnitude would not have been possible without a lot of people coming together and working toward a common goal,” states Dan Burke, Door County Land Trust Executive Director. “The Land Trust had the backing and support of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Town of Sevastopol, many sporting organizations and the Glidden Drive Association. Most importantly, the families that owned the land displayed an extraordinary amount of patience as this purchase took over three years to complete. Without their vision and perseverance, this land would not have been protected.”
The purchase by the Land Trust means the public will now have an expanded opportunity to experience and appreciate the beauty and diversity of the Shivering Sands area as the land will be available for hiking, hunting, and other nature-based activities.
For Dick Baudhuin, one of the former owners of the property, public access was a motivating factor for selling to the Land Trust. “I feel strongly that this land be open for the public to enjoy and that sustainable forestry activities continue. I want this to be a place that brings the community together, a place where people who appreciate nature can share their common interests.”
The Land Trust’s recent purchase includes portions of two wild lakes, Schwartz and Arbter, hundreds of acres of forest, and numerous spring-fed springs, seeps and creeks. According to Wisconsin’s late, renowned ecologist, Jim Zimmerman, “Shivering Sands is the largest unbroken natural area in Door County and has the largest white cedar tract in Wisconsin.”
Identification as a Wisconsin Five Star Land Legacy Area further solidified the claim that the Shivering Sands SNA is a biologically-rich jewel. It houses nineteen natural landscape communities including dunes, kettles, swales, old and present shorelines, small lakes, streams, ponds, fens, bogs and forests. These natural communities provide habitat for unique plants such as dwarf lake iris, tussock bulrush and coast sedge. They also provide habitat for an impressive list of animals such as otter, fisher, mink, weasel, badger, fox, sandhill crane, bald eagle, one hundred plus other species of breeding birds, and the federally-endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly.
The Door County Land Trust plans to transfer ownership of the preserved land to the DNR for long-term management. The Land Trust will work with the DNR and volunteers to establish and maintain hiking trails, eradicate invasive non-native plants, and manage the health of the upland forest community.
Funds for this purchase were made possible through generous grants from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund of Wisconsin and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetland program. The Land Trust extends its thanks to The Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin for its invaluable help in securing grant funds and to members of the Land Trust for providing the private funding needed to make this historic project a reality.
Contributions toward the Land Trust’s purchase of the Shivering Sands property may be sent to the Door County Land Trust, P.O. Box 65, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 or made online at www.doorcountylandtrust.org.
The Door County Land Trust is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Door County’s open spaces and wild places. Since 1986, the Door County Land Trust has permanently protected over 6,000 acres throughout Door County. Visit the Land Trust’s Website to find out more about the Land Trust and for maps and directions to Land Trust nature preserves.