Door County Land Trust Protects 600 Acres on Chambers Island

The Door County Land Trust (DCLT) announces the two small islands in Lake Mackaysee are now officially part of the trust’s 600-acre Chambers Island Nature Preserve. The Town of Gibraltar aided the process by purchasing the islands from the Wisconsin Commission of Public Lands, and then sold them immediately to the DCLT to be protected as part of the Chambers Island Nature Preserve. All expenses for the purchase of the islands were paid for by DCLT and Chambers Island Nature Preserve supporters. The two islands in Lake Mackaysee were owned by the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands and were designated to be sold, with local units of government having the first opportunity. DCLT approached the Town of Gibraltar to form a plan to protect the islands. The acquisition was completed on Sept. 19. “It takes a community to protect its islands. These islands in a lake on an island in the lake provide critical habitat for migratory birds as they travel from central and south America to Canada. Additionally, the mature forest on these islands have supported a pair of bald eagles nesting here for many years who use the trees as fishing perches,” said Terrie Cooper, DCLT’s Community Conservation Director. Protecting Chambers Island was recognized as a priority during joint conservation planning sessions in 2013-2015 with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and others. Chambers Island provides vital stop-over and nesting habitat for migratory birds, song birds and waterfowl. The mature forests on the Mackaysee Islands provide important habitat for nesting bald eagles and other wetland species of plants and animals. By 2020, DCLT expects to have protected about 800 acres, thanks to significant financial contributions from islanders and Door County Land Trust members. These private donations have been matched by funds provided through the State of Wisconsin DNR Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund Grant Program, the Fox River Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds, and North American Wetland Conservation Act Grant Funds. Fundraising for the Chambers Island Nature Preserve continues as needs for the ongoing care of the island’s vital wildlife habitat are identified.

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