Ridges Closes in On New Home

The Ridges Sanctuary completed the purchase of the Sandpiper Restaurant in Baileys Harbor on Monday, Oct. 31, marking the first step toward a new future for Wisconsin’s oldest private nature preserve.

A rendering of what the inside of the Ridges’ new interpretive center could look like.

Earlier this year, The Ridges Sanctuary selected the Sandpiper property as the site for its new interpretive center. The property, located at the corner of Hwy 57 and Ridges Road, is ideally situated to provide a much-needed visible public entrance to the Sanctuary. The new building is the centerpiece of an expanded vision for the Sanctuary, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2012. That vision includes not only the interpretive center, but also addresses the development of programs, media, trail systems, and other site improvements which will enhance the visitor experience and help to tell The Ridges’ story. Conceptual designs can be viewed here.

“The property acquisition marks the end of the first key phase of fundraising,” said Executive Director Steve Leonard. “We now have an unprecedented opportunity to advance the vision of our founders. It was so fitting that Lee Traven was able to be with us as we took this important step toward securing their legacy.”

Traven’s mother, Olivia, was an active member of the Baileys Harbor Women’s Club and one of the co-founders of The Ridges Sanctuary. His father Fred volunteered as a Boy Scout leader for 28 years and also served as president of The Ridges. Traven credits his parents with instilling in him a commitment to give back to the community.

“We couldn’t have had a more enthusiastic and positive response to this project from our membership – and not only local members, but members throughout the country,“ Leonard said. “It clearly signals that they understand the opportunity we have to link and unify the areas of our campus and to connect a greater number of people to the Sanctuary, Baileys Harbor and Door County.”

The organization will continue to fund raise during 2012 with construction of the new building expected to begin in 2013.