Land Trust Adds Properties on Washington, Chambers Islands

The Door County Land Trust has added two islands and three forests to its list of protected lands. 

The Richter family of Washington Island has donated the Susie Islands, which the Door County Land Trust will permanently protect and preserve as wildlife habitat.

The Big and Little Susie Islands – located off the northwestern shore of Detroit Harbor on Washington Island – total approximately 15 acres. Between the Susie Islands and the shoreline of the nature preserve lies a freshwater estuary, known locally as the Richter Bayou, which is a significant and productive smallmouth-bass nursery for northern Green Bay and Lake Michigan. 

The Susie Islands are undeveloped, with an exterior ring of white cedar and an interior northern mesic forest that includes hardwood species such as sugar and red maple, American beech, white and yellow birch, and boreal conifer species such as black spruce and balsam fir. These island forests provide habitat for migratory and breeding birds.

The Door County Land Trust now owns and manages nearly 165 acres as part of the Detroit Harbor Nature Preserve on Washington, Detroit and Big and Little Susie Islands. 

Chambers Island Forests Protected

The Door County Land Trust has also announced the permanent protection of high-quality forests on Chambers Island: Three parcels totaling 80 acres will be protected by year’s end. These lands consist of a mix of sugar maple, red oak, hemlock, American beech, red maple, white pine and basswood. The three forested lands add to and connect lands already protected within the Chambers Island Nature Preserve, which now totals nearly 800 acres.

The lands are within the North American migratory bird flyway for more than 170 species of birds. The island offers a much-needed rest stop that is free of common bird hazards, and it offers a diversity of forest and wetland habitats necessary for birds to forage and nest.

The three forest parcels have been enrolled and maintained in Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Program. Sustainable forestry practices will continue under Door County Land Trust ownership, with a selective harvest planned approximately every 15 years.

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