The Ridges Sanctuary, SNA #17 (114/675)

The Ridges Sanctuary contains a series of ridges and swales marking former shorelines of Lake Michigan from the last 1400-1500 years.  This topography results in an array of different natural communities and resident species.  A large parking lot and visitor’s center can be found off of CTH Q just east of Hwy 57.  Note that for non-members, donations are requested for use of the trails.

This is yet another site that I would like to return to in the future.  While I did see several nice species including dwarf lake iris, bird’s-eye primrose, yellow lady’s-slipper, and Indian paintbrush, this site has much more to offer and I think I was a few weeks early to see a more diverse set of forbs.  There are numerous trails that parallel the shoreline atop the ridges and a series of perpendicular connecting trails.  As a result, there isn’t really a good way to see everything without winding yourself back and forth over the course of a few hours.  It is something that I would like to do someday.  Additionally, since I was last there, additional land west of Hwy 57 has been added to the SNA.  No trails are designated there, but it may be an interesting spot to explore.  Another point of interest are the Upper and Lower Rangelights of Baileys Harbor.  Found on the western edge of the site, the difference in height between the two lights could be used by sailors to determine their “range” to shore.  All in all, a neat little piece of history in a place where you might not expect it.  The Ridges Sanctuary is owned and managed by an LLC of the same name and by all accounts they do a fantastic job.  Numerous guided hikes, workshops, and volunteer activities are available throughout the year.

More of my photos (and full-res) from The Ridges Sanctuary can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 17
County Door
Natural Communities / Geology
 Boreal Forest, Bog, Marsh
Size (Acres)  1246
Parking Parking Lot (paved)
Trails Yes
Easy to Find Yes
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership The Ridges Sanctuary, LLC; More info: Wisconsin DNR
Located Within n/a
Dates Visited 5.23.10

Door County

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