Read about some of the best Nature Preserves in Door County — places to hike & enjoy nature..Shivering Sands Nature Preserve, Sevastopol Pioneer Eco Preserve and more, all located in Door County Wisconsin
Where to hike, cross country ski, and enjoy nature in Door County
Nature preserves are prevalent in Door County. There are so many places, public places, that are fantastic places to hike, run, cross country ski, and enjoy nature. This week–the second week of March 2021 is going to be a nice one–so I thought I would let know (if you don’t already know them) some of the best places to get outside.
Shivering Sands, what a great name. The name alone beckons you to explore this very special place.
The Shivering Sands are protected by The Nature Conservancy. The Shivering Sands wetland preserve encompasses 3400 acres, 3 lakes, springs and streams, forested sand dunes, meadow, forest and fens.
What is a fen? Wikipedia defines it as A fen is one of the main types of wetlands, the others being grassy marshes, forested swamps, and peaty bogs. Along with bogs, fens are a kind of mire. Fens are minerotrophic peatlands, usually fed by mineral-rich surface water or groundwater.
The preserve is home to many species of birds, frogs, and native wildlife.
Where is it?
Shivering Sands is located about 10 miles north and east of Sturgeon Bay. It is located on Lake Michigan.
From Sturgeon Bay, travel east off State Highway 42/57 on County Road T for 4 miles. Turn north (left) onto Glidden Drive. Travel approximately 3.3 miles to mailbox #4192. A small Nature Conservancy parking lot across from 4192 Glidden Drive provides access to a marked loop trail on Nature Conservancy land. The WDNR has two parking lots farther north off Glidden Drive that provide access to trails on the state land.
What’s special about Shivering Sands?
The myriad of plant and animal life is a reason The Nature Conservancy preserves this site.
The Shivering Sands Preserve is an excellent habitat for rare plant and wildlife.
The three lakes – Dunes Lake, Schwartz Lake, and Arbter Lake – are set among a dense White Cedar swamp. They are shallow lakes and around the fringe you’ll see cattails, rushes, and sedges (a grasslike plant with triangular stems and inconspicuous flowers, growing typically in wet ground).
Dunes Lake is the largest of the 3 lakes with 81 acres. The lake gets most of its water from Geisel Creek, and with no fish barriers, Geisel Creek, Dunes Lake, and the waterway of Shivering Sands provides an important access to the spawning habitat for fish like Northern Pike and Suckers.
The Shivering Sands Preserve is home to the rare Hines Emerald Dragonfly. In Door County we have the largest population of this federally endangered dragonfly in the world.
Endangered Dunes Lake
Over time tons of phosphorus-laden sediment built up in Dunes Lake, threatening its health and even existence.
In 2016 the Door County Soil & Water Conservation Department, local farmers and property owners, Ducks Unlimited, and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program began a project that has dredged over 8000 cubic yards of sediment from the lake.
Why is that important for you, who wants to enjoy nature? The dredging has created another two to three feet of water depth, and that will allow kayak and canoe enthusiasts to enjoy the water of Dunes Lake, and allow the lake to be host to varieties of fish and frogs, and a watering place for other wildlife.
Photo credit – Ducks Unlimited
Take a Hike
Make the Shivering Sands Preserve a place you get out and enjoy nature this week.
Next time: The Sevastopol Pioneer Ecological Preserve.