Special to the EagleHerald
A northern spring-fed lake at Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust’s new Marinette County Conservancy.
Special to the EagleHerald

A northern spring-fed lake at Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust’s new Marinette County Conservancy.

APPLETON, Wis. — Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust announced the protection of 627 acres of forestland and an entire northern lake in Marinette County this week. The new Northern Lake Conservancy, which is an example of a northwoods landscape, is bordered by miles of county forest and a State Natural Area — increasing its ecological impact by helping to buffer those protected lands, and collectively providing a broader range for existing wildlife.

Over time, project partners seek to include another 320 acres to the conservancy — bringing the number of total acres protected to 947. The conservancy also brings to 1,978 the total number of acres held in protection by Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust in Marinette County, at the northern reach of its 12-county territory.

“The owners of this remarkable property have had a 20-year dream to protect this forested site, and this conservancy ensures that the shores of the lake will be forever undeveloped,” says Deb Nett, executive director at Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust. “We’ve worked hard, with them, to make sure that one of the state’s fast disappearing large tracts of lands will remain wild, preserving elements of the unique natural features that make this area so special.

“This family has given the people in the area and all of northeast Wisconsin a valuable gift by donating a conservation easement agreement on their land to Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust.”

The large tract of wooded property supports habitat for large mammals, and its spring-fed lake (pictured above) is located at the headwaters of a Class 1 trout stream — considered an Exceptional Resource Water by Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources.

Under the conservation easement agreement, owners of the property retain ownership of the parcel and remain responsible for its maintenance and property taxes. Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust becomes responsible for annual monitoring of the new conservancy, with its private landowners, and ensures that an established conservation agreement is followed in perpetuity.

“This land is special on so many levels,” says Julie Hawkins-Tyriver, the Land Trust’s Land Conservation director. “It is a mosaic of a wide variety of ecosystems with an equally wide variety of plant and animal species that have been keenly stewarded by the landowners. They have been managing the land to promote and maintain the native composition of the forest and the diversity of habitats here for over 20 years. For the same length of time, the property has been home to a local wolf pack, beginning at a time when there were very few wolves in the state. Historically, it served as a wintering camp for a logging company in the 1880s indicating the importance of this place in not only an ecological sense, but also a historical sense too.”

In addition to protecting recreational opportunities and supporting a valuable fishery, the large tract of land provides diverse habitat for deer, timber wolves, black bear, coyotes, porcupines, red fox and weasels. Many migratory and nesting song and game birds such as warblers, horned owls, wild turkeys, eagles, pileated woodpeckers and whippoorwills also depend on the land.

Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust’s expertise and years of experience in working with property owners, families, county, state and local conservation partners is making a significant difference. Since its founding 23 years ago, more than 5,900 acres of lakes, streams, forest, wetlands, and shoreline have been permanently protected in northeast Wisconsin thanks to these partnerships. Although this forestland and lake is not open to the public, people may visit their website (www.newlt.org) for a look at the 10 Land Trust preserves that are open to the public and welcome visitors.