Purchase Expands Door County Land Trust’s Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve by Over 50%

The Door County Land Trust announces the recent acquisition of 50 acres of meadow and forest land in the Village of Egg Harbor, added to the Door County Land Trust’s Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve,  protecting over ½ mile of open space along County Highway G.

Photo by Julie Schartner

Photo by Julie Schartner

“Adding these 50 acres to the nature preserve is exciting for several reasons,” explains Dan Burke, executive director of the Door County Land Trust.  “This purchase helps to preserve the rural character of one of Door County’s most scenic roadways by protecting highly-developable land.  It also preserves a portion of the Niagara Escarpment that provides habitat for a number of rare plants and animals.  The timing of this acquisition is certainly appropriate given 2010 has been designated the Year of the Escarpment by the Wisconsin State Legislature. Anyone who loves Door County knows the escarpment is well worth celebrating and protecting.”

The Niagara Escarpment, a 650-mile long cuesta, or ridge that runs all the way from Rochester, New York across southern Canada and into Wisconsin provides Door County with its signature landscape — the well-loved, craggy, cedar-studded limestone bluffs.

The Door County Land Trust has long been interested in the escarpment for its ecological value as it contains caves, sink holes, talus slopes and moist cliffs.  Rain water filtering through its deep limestone fissures results in the biologically rich springs and vernal ponds that are commonly found at the base of the escarpment.

Terrie Cooper, land program director for the Land Trust, explains, “The escarpment is a world of its own.  Even on the hottest August afternoon, the escarpment is damp and cool thus creating a very specialized habitat for unique species. The Niagara Escarpment is one of the reasons Door County ranks first in the state for biological diversity.”  Cooper adds, “Land protection work around the escarpment is critical. The forested lands above the escarpment provide habitat for migrating birds and also help filter and purify rain water that eventually drains into our water table and the Green Bay watershed.”

Recognizing the value of the escarpment, the Land Trust has been hard at work protecting the lands above and below it at the Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve.  In addition to the 50 acres just acquired, four other properties were added to the preserve in 2009 bringing the total size of the preserve to 140 acres.

Burke encourages people to visit the Launtenbach Woods Nature Preserve. “The Lautenbach Woods Preserve has a marvelous hiking trail system showcasing the escarpment.  We encourage folks to visit and experience for themselves why this is such a special place and why it deserves protection.”

Funds for this most recent 50-acre purchase were provided by Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and the Fox River/Green Bay Natural Resource Trustee Council administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Private donations from Land Trust supporters also helped make the purchase possible.

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 5,300 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 a contribution of support, please visit www.doorcountylandtrust.org.

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